People leave unsatisfying situations. They’ll work hard to stay in situations that they find satisfying and will make a lot of other sacrifices to keep things going. But when they leave, it’s because they have seen that situation for what it is – unfulfilling / unsatisfying – and they realize that there is not enough to be gained, or a lot to be lost, from remaining.
Regardless of the area of life – relationship, job, school, where someone calls home, hobby, etc… – the process is always the same for me.
Mindless enjoyment or contentment fades as the awareness that something is missing or out of place grows. Resentment or contempt arrive bringing along a fantasy of a different existence. Bitterness and hostility will soon appear if things do not change. If the situation remains the same, all of the negative emotions bubble-up suffocating and killing the once mindless bliss of “happy”.
I have become very aware of this process because I have gone through it a lot. I can feel or hear the seeds of resentment percolating in my consciousness very early on and have learned to pay attention to the potential harvest that may come to be. I don’t do anything other than notice the sensations the first few times I become aware of them as I may be having a tough day, be tired, hungry, whatever, just that something is off so what I attribute the negative moment to may have nothing to do with it. But I notice it, check inside, and get back to life with as clear a head as possible.
Most of the stuff never comes up again, lending validity to my notion that an empty belly, lack of sleep, or general BLAH can color the lens of perception. That’s good to know because, well, it’s just good to be reminded that I search for a reason AFTER I feel something and not necessarily the other way round.
But when the stuff does comes-up again and becomes impossible to let go of, I realize that the shift has occurred – like everything that is moving, a small change in the direction of life, when ignored, will deliver a big change in destination over the long run – so I make a dramatic change.
In most cases this means that I get out of the situation – leave a job, relationship, situation – and start something new or put more focus onto the other things I’m involved in. Occasionally I’ll spend some time to unpack my feelings / thoughts in order to track the actual cause of the misalignment. When this approach is successful, it creates a decision point where I can either change the situation or change my expectation of the existing situation.
Personal development grows from learning a new skill to help manage an existing situation, so figuring-out my thoughts / feelings / internal narrative is a critical practice. The key is to learn the new skill and implement it ONLY when it benefits all parties who are involved in the situation. There are times to make things work and there are times to move forward into something else.
Regardless of the outcome, when I start to notice that things are not as they need to be, I know that the process of change has begun and that it may be time to move forward.