Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Compass for Difficult Decisions

I can name a few times in my life when I wanted to leave town, quit, drop my major, break up, or stop talking to a friend who hurt me. We’ve all been there. Especially in this long, harsh drought we know as the pandemic, water seems to be anywhere but here. We are looking for new waters and making decisions about what it would look like to leave the old paths behind.

In this season of upheaval, change, and the Great Resignation, everywhere we look we wonder if there is something better somewhere else.

We all have decisions to make. Should I move to a new city? Is it time to make that career jump I have been dreaming about? Should I leave my relationship? Is it time to start a family? Should I do nothing?

Will I miss the boat if I don’t go looking for new waters?

Stay or Go? 🧭

When these questions start circling around in my head, it is hard to discern when I’m feeling desire and when I’m feeling anxiety. I started asking myself this question to help reorient me and make sense of what is going on inside:

Am I making this change to move toward something or run away from something?

Runnin’ Runnin’ 🏃

Sometimes, we absolutely need to run away. Abusive relationships, toxic work environments, unsafe circumstances? Run for the hills! Importantly, find support and be kind to yourself.

Say I answer that I want to leave to get away from unresolved conflict or uncomfortable emotions, for example. There might be more I need to examine before making a decision to leave. Uncomfortable emotions are great teachers if we are open to them. And in truth, we won’t get away from them in that new city or a new job.

Sail Away ⛵️

However, when I answer that I am leaving to move toward new opportunities or to release the old patterns that kept me stuck, it may be time to find those new waters. When I can answer honestly to myself that I am not procrastinating on a challenge, avoiding difficulty, or leaving things undone, I can embrace the new waters with joy, openness, and whole-heartedness.

Tough Years, Hard Decisions

There is nothing wrong with staying or leaving. The difficulty arises in determining when to do which. As you decide what you want to keep or remove from your life, remember that loss and gain are always paired. Either choice will bring new things as others fall away. These have been some tough years. Let us continue to choose openness, kindness and hope as we start another.