Have you ever left something incomplete? How do you walk away when you’re giving up on something or more importantly, someone?
Let’s start at the start. I get really excited at the start of new things. Like buying a new notebook and having no idea what you’re gonna write in it. Or meeting someone and the first few minutes of conversation going really well. It’s this small feeling that arises which foretells good times ahead. By now, I know that it doesn’t always pan out that way but I can’t help getting that feeling. Or maybe I want to feel it. Who doesn’t reach for scraps of contentment and assurances that good things are to come?
And then there’s the process itself. The next day comes. More conversations ensue. And you start filling in that notebook with something. Maybe your thoughts or a calendar or artwork. And the process brings with it so much – good moments, unsure moments and those dreaded “do I really want to do this?” moments. These are the ones that often lead to us deciding that the process is not worth it. We overthink things. We panic. We tell ourselves it was never that big of a deal. And then one of two things happens. You either stick with it and see where it takes you. Or you leave it behind and walk away.
Here, I mean to make my message clear – Notebooks and projects can’t feel it when you give up on them. People do.
When you walk away from someone, how do you do it?
I’ve seen my fair share of people walking away from me, for many reasons. In the hurt caused by them doing so, the reason becomes irrelevant. But whether they mention the reason makes all the difference in the world. Today’s social norms are incredibly ignorant of common courtesies. It’s all too normal to start something, lead someone on and the minute you feel unsure, back out without any warning or explanation.
It’s entirely possible you see this as a harmless way of saving yourself pain in explaining why you’re giving up. Perhaps you’ve chosen the most irrational or illogical of reasons. Or perhaps it was really important for you to walk away. But, the one you leave behind has no way of knowing this. They are left doubting themselves, their words and their actions towards you. They aren’t crippled or devastated by this, but it does have a lasting effect. Eventually, they start to perceive the world differently.
They trust differently. They judge differently. They see differently.
Is saving yourself a short conversation really worth this? Must we really be so self-occupied?
I have a friend who is one of the best people I’ve ever known. And as I talked about this with them, I see what it can do to people. I see what it did to me when one of my closest friends chose to walk away. And it’s not something I wish upon those I care about or anyone really.
So if you find yourself in a place where you need to give up. I ask you to find the strength to say you’re done. And if you can muster it, say why you’re leaving. End well.
It’s a person you’re walking away from, not a notebook you’re throwing into a drawer because what you wrote on the first page wasn’t picture perfect. It rarely ever is.