Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have to Walk Away

My best friend is getting divorced after 15 years of marriage. UGH. What a drag. This is a pretty low time in her life right now and I feel very badly for both her and her soon-to-be ex. It's never easy to end a relationship, but sometimes the absolute hardest thing we ever have to do in our life turns out to be the best thing we should have done a long time ago.

I remind myself often of a very powerful sentence in the book The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. In it he writes, "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation." In the story, an Adulasian Shepard boy travels from Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure. All along the way he is presented with several "omens" or "signs" about his destiny but he doesn't always listen. During his travels he encounters many obstacles from his lack of perspective, but his journey is ultimately successful because he realizes he had the tools to find the treasure all along.

I remember the day I finally recognized a strong omen and made the decision to sever all contact with an ex-boyfriend. We had met in college, dated on and off for about five years and had an extremely tight circle of friends. His friends were my friends and vice versa. Although I knew for a very long time that our incredibly dysfunctional relationship was doomed, I continued the charade of a "relationship" because it was familiar...pure and simple. I knew in the deep, deep pit of my stomach that we were not meant for each other. But I continued to coast and continued to silence my inner voice that was screaming at me to get out.

For years I hushed the voice that said to me, "You deserve better than this. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? What's in it for you?" I put a pillow over the voice and suffocated it so I wouldn't have to face the fact that I was making terrible decisions for myself. He finally met someone else and got engaged, but we kept in contact and continued to exchange Christmas cards. I was even invited to their wedding. I tried desperately to believe that we could actually maintain a friendship because, at the time, that was easier for me to accept than the fact that our relationship had imploded right before my very eyes.

And then, one day, I had one of my shower epiphanies and realized that I needed to just walk away from this whole mess. Cut ties and walk away. No other option existed. I realized that we could never be friends and that it was grossly inappropriate to even try. His life had moved in one direction and I needed to move mine in the exact opposite. Even though some of our mutual friendships suffered and several ended completely, I had to do what was best for me. It was my obligation to realize my destiny attract a better life for myself.

In retrospect, what was an extremely painful decision turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I could never have opened up my life's possibilities by continuing to close the door on my inner voice that was saying, "you will have a better future if you endure this pain today." I finally listened and finally heeded its advice. As a result, my life has turned out better than I could have ever expected. I am still amazed at my good fortune. I met my amazing, wonderful husband, I have two terrific kids and I live a pretty fantastic life. How's that for kismet?

So, I say to my friend today...congratulations for listening to your inner voice. Congratulations for wanting to make a better life for yourself. Congratulations for believing that you are worthy of more. Although it's a painful time in your life and some people will, unfortunately, get hurt in the process, it's a life direction you are supposed to take. You can only prosper by charting your own course and listening to your destiny. If your omens are telling you to walk away, heed the advice and reap the rewards. The rewards are out there and you will find them. I have no idea how long that will take but it's up to you to put yourself on the road that will lead you there.

The best piece of advice the Alchemist shares with the Shepard boy in the story is, "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream." Don't fight it. Listen to your instinct. Shut out the noise.

Trust yourself.

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