“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
~ Viktor E Frankl
Sometimes in our lives we are faced with crossroads: decisions about workplace, relationships, groups we belong to and even countries.
These include the big decisions for those who may become refugees or stay behind and join the resistance; the decisions for those who stay (or leave) a community, group or organization that have become dysfunctional or stopped delivering what’s needed or the smaller but also important decisions to stay or leave a relationship or life path that stopped being fulfilling, meaningful or healthy…
We are living interesting times: nothing is guaranteed, all is changing or collapsing; this produces anxiety and we deal with anxiety by numbing ourselves, distracting ourselves, denying that things are that bad or deluding ourselves by looking for the “perfect” thing, relationship, place, etc. We also deal with anxiety by getting sick or acting out and therefore creating more anxiety and dysfunction for ourselves and others…
If you are in a place that’s “toxic”, chaotic, dysfunctional or even dangerous to you or to people, beings or things you care about, you have various options:
1) Leave and make that another person’s problem;
2) Stay and work with others on bringing understanding, joy and healing as well as change where needed;
3) Stay but complain about everyone and everything what’s “wrong”;
4) Stay and just “do your thing” in your corner, swallowing all the poison until you explode or
5) Stay and work on your own healing, acceptance and attitude hoping it will support others in theirs…
All these choices have different consequences for you as an individual and those involved and none are “right” or “wrong” except that probably in #3 & #4 cases there will be more disconnection with yourself and others, with the potential of even more dysfunction and harm.
Whether you choose any of the above options will depend on the circumstances; the potential for harm; how much inner strength you have at the moment; how much support and resources are available to you and how worth is for you to invest time, energy and resources in the situation.
This works with entire countries, communities, jobs, causes, groups, friends and even relationships…
Whatever your choice, here there’s some food for thought:
- Know that some decisions have no “undo” button: sometimes it’s no possible to come back once you have made the decision to leave, and sometimes there’s no way to leave when you have decided to stay. This doesn’t apply to everything, so reflect on the pros and cons before you make your choice
- Reflect on your safety and that of your loved ones, both at physical and emotional levels
- Reflect on your core values and use them as a blueprint for making choices
- Find what grounds you: look in, look out and look into Nature
- If you stay, make sure you are safe physically, emotionally and spiritually
- If you stay, look for strategies to stay grounded and strong
- If you stay, commit to bring understanding, healing and joy. This may mean bringing justice and exploring shadows which can be emotionally and even physically painful, so look for support and resources as appropriate
- If you leave, be clear of how your relationship will be with those who stay behind
- If you leave, make sure you know what you bring in your “backpack”
- If you stay but cannot commit to proactively support others in the bringing understanding, healing and joy, then work on bringing those things to yourself.
- If you are not strong enough to make a choice, work on getting strong
Let your life be your message…
“We are our choices.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre