A client recently asked me, "Why did I stay so long?" I paused and said, "I do not know if I have the finite answer to that question, there can be lots of reasons." Whether it is a marriage, relationship, friendship, job...we have all been there. Some of the reasons we may stay in unhealthy or toxic relationships is because we do not know any better. Low self esteem, unhealed trauma from childhood, desperation or fear. It can be complicated such as long term marriage with children involved or business partners who have invested a lot. So we compromise and shove our feelings down. It is also possible that we have magical thinking, that somehow, someday it will just get better. We try and try to no avail and things do not get better. We make concession after concession, excuse after excuse. Our boundaries get blurred. We can forget who we are and what we want. It hurts to watch something or someone we once loved become something we should hate. We hope and pray it will return to the way it was. Denial keeps us stuck and unable to accept that things will never be the same. Days turn into months, months turn into years. Now we have given so much of our time, we do not want to give up so easily. It is hard to leave and it is hard to stay. As I pondered this question my client asked, I did say, "While I do not have the end all answer to this question, I do know that self awareness of what you want and need will become so clear that you can no longer tolerate it and you must make a change." Making a gallant effort to stay with people you love or a situation you think is a noble cause is honorable. Yet, there must come a point where you love yourself more or you will become miserable. It takes courage to make a change in your situation. It begins with you. Work on yourself, your communication, boundaries, health; pour into you. Pick up an old hobby. Take yourself on a date. Write, play, dream, explore your creativity. Revisit your place of spiritual worship. Find your way back to you. You may need to discover "the why" of all of this which can be done with a trusted therapist. Or maybe you need an action plan and someone to hold you accountable such as a coach or trusted friend. You know what you need to do. But, I can tell you that you have options, you do not have to stay in abusive or dsyfunctional situations. Do not beat yourself up for where you are. Maybe take some baby steps of self care. There is an old saying, "once you are aware you are half way there." When you admit that something needs to change, you can't unseen it or unknow it. It is up to you to take the next steps. You do not have to do it alone. I have resources for therapists, small groups or yours truly, your coach. Be graceful. Just for today do something kind for yourself. Speak to yourself like you would a beloved friend who was going through the same thing. What would you say? Be that friend to yourself.
If you have been following me you know how I feel about time. Time is precious and this is YOUR life. Go get it!!!
*My name is Jennifer. I am a certified life coach. Yeah, I went to school but most of what I know comes from the vault of my life experiences. I started over at 49 years old. If I can do it, so can you. Be encouraged. Let me know how I can help. Individual and group sessions available."