The hardest decision in life is deciding whether to “walk away” or “try harder.”
The first time I read this quote was in high school. Full of piss and vinegar towards my home life allowed me to be a spastic loveable nerfbag to the rest of the world.
I was admired and adored by everyone who would let me shower them with compliments, hugs and a listening ear.
I used my trauma to get ahead and hold me back at the same time. An interesting show to perform day in and day out.
At the peak of my success, I was also at the lowest of my self worth and depleated of hope.
Creative juices and the attention from adults and peers wanting to save me from the demonic stories I’d tell, dug me into a hole that carried me all the way to 22; I came to realize my life was nothing like T-swifts song.
There were several inspirational quotes I adopted when I was growing up.
This was one of them.
I became obsessed with being the person for everyone else that they felt they never had growing up. To be the one person to everybody that didn’t walk away.
It was a journey that I believed was selfless. I was convinced that I could be best friends with everyone forever.
Year after year I got lost in the chaos of trying harder. Not just in my relationships but in everything. Water polo and swim team. School and church.
I consumed myself with so much bullsh*t, always telling myself I wasn’t going to be the one to walk away, because walking away meant quitting.
And mama didn’t raise no quitter.
But the trying harder deepened my belief that I wasn’t trying in the first place. That I wasn’t enough.
This quote needs SERIOUS context and key questions.
Walking away will always be the answer.
Because trying is a waste of time.
In the words of our beloved Star Wars character, Master Yoda: “There is no try, only do.”
But wait! Do? Every successful person under the sun says actions make your dreams a reality.
So I did more. I tried harder.
What I wasn’t doing was giving myself credit.
What I was doing was creating panic about not walking away. I came to believe that if I tried harder, in my actions, it would fix everything.
Because I’m a fixer. That’s what I do, I fix things, people, situations.
What no one told me until much self sabotage and self destruction patterns developed, was that it’s okay to walk away.
Walking away got highlighted, defined, reassessed, and redefined so many times in the last few years I’ve lost count.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
I can’t fix anything when I’m out of alignment with my inner being.
Lamans terms: I can’t fix anything or anybody. I can’t help others unless I help myself first.
If I am out of sync, then the answer is always to walk away. Because what I’ve learned is that when I tried harder without being okay with me first, my efforts became obsolete.
There needs to be fine print underneath that says: once aligned and in sync with your higher power.
I’m not here to fix anything because nothing is broken.
Everyone and everything around me is exactly the way it needs to be until inspired otherwise.
My reality now is the manifestation of all of my past thoughts, so in all fairness, I ALWAYS receive what I am thinking and feeling.
I learned that walking away gives me the opportunity to come back to people if we are in sync and supposed to be together.
I released the idea that I had any control over anybody else. Like at all.
This made walking away from arguments, people, places, events, jobs, and even family members do-able.
And I won’t say easier because I am a people pleaser and we tend to feel it’s easier to stay and accommodate.
I began to see more and more, with the help of wise teachers and therapists, that walking away is actually a really healthy thing.
I walked away from a sport that I was incredible and passionate about for a solid 8 years of my life. And even though I didn’t totally understand how this was the best decision of my life, the whole world around me thought it was the worst.
It took a long time for me to see the power I was claiming for myself by walking away.
I didn’t love it anymore. What I could not sleep for with anticipation at night for the next day work outs became the very same reason by the end I literally let insanity kick me out.
Nobody could see why I didn’t want to play anymore. Out of all of the choices to use that quote, others assured me this was the end all be all moment – that trying harder was the answer.
So I did. And every day I continued to deny my inner beings calling me to the bigger and better things, the crazier I got and the less people wanted to help.
They began labeling me.
Child Abuse Victim
Binge eating disorder
SSI (Seriously Mentally Ill)
Schizo Affective Disorder
Adult Child of an Alcoholic
And with every new label, came new medication to fix my wanting to walk away. Every label came with a new medication that added to the problem and created an even worse diagnosis.
Folks. I was exercising enough. As a student athlete, in highschool and college, I worked out 6-7 days a week 6-10 hours a day. We maybe had 2 or 3 days off to rest thrown in there every few months before big events and holidays but I was a full time athlete.
So if what they say is true about stimulation and endorphins and all this other stuff about exersice being the best anti depressant, than why am I still so fucking miserable?
It’s because I didn’t know that I could listen and trust myself.
I was told it’s selfish. Others could do that but not you, kid.
You don’t want to become an addict like your parents. It starts with selfish acts.
Hahahaha OMG NO!
Every single addict I know can be the most selfless human being when they aren’t using. They use because they were told it’s bad to be selfish too! So the substance gives them an excuse to fill the void that people said they weren’t allowed to fill. Cuz it’s selfish!?
Think about it!
Walking away from water polo saved my life because I walked away from most of the labels put on me there by people trying to fix me.
I wasn’t broken. I was done.
I had other people to meet, other things to do, experiences to have. I have had so many incredible jobs where I am a better person because of who I was working with.
I am a different person. And I LOVE the person I am today because I walked away from the one thing that EVERY single person in my life at the time thought I needed to try harder at.
The mental illness’ are in my genes. That part was inevitable. But they got worse when I let people diagnose me, and then try to save me from walking away.
So you know what labels I’ve gained since then?
But the ones I value the most are the ones that have come from the healthiest people.
The people who never would have met if I had tried harder.
The people who I never would have met if I had tried harder. I was trying harder. It was killing me.
My favorite and most productive therapist I had most recently summed up all of my choices in a simple phrase.
“You are making things harder than they need to be.”
But wait! Trying harder makes me a winner. Making things harder creates the illusion that I’m doing something. Efforts are being made! I’m working towards something.
Making things harder shows the strain, the suffering, “progress and passion.”
Making things harder looks like I’m trying harder to make things work. To be and live to the potential EVERYONE ELSE but me sees.
And people would say well then try smarter not harder.
Smarter is walking away until my inner being says I can go back or if not.
So, yes. These two options can be the hardest decision of your life. But only if you are out of alignment with who you really are and what you really want in life.
And that’s how it’s simple.
It’s doesn’t matter what everyone else could see if I couldn’t see it. So I walked away to go find it. And it wasn’t in any of the places my family or coaches or friends or doctors said it would be. I looked! It wasn’t there!
So I walked away to find it. To get a different perspective. Isn’t that like, basic survival training? Back away or get above or leave the situation to get a better perspective.
Well I did. I found it. It wasn’t the NCAA, it wasn’t in the University I was attending. I didn’t find it in the pity offamily friends or coaches at the time.
It’s in the sheer satisfaction of peace of mind. It’s in the quiet moments of solitude. It’s in the laughter of the kids I got to work with.
It’s in the smile of the strangers I’ve met and had random but genuine conversations with.
It’s in the hugs after the life changing stories told and all night laughing fits with best friends.
It’s in the joyous, hilarious, fun moments of my life.
I am thee most successful I have ever been when I live in those moments; I don’t have to try harder to experience joy. And you can always tell when someone is trying to hard to be hilarious. It gets awkward! And trying harder to have fun leads to ruined vacations and disappointment.
Now am I saying that I’ve made it?
Nah, because I know that I’ll never get it all done. I want to many things and I want to experience too much to complete it all. But that’s my favorite part! So how am I not successful?!
I’m still progressing like everyone else.
I know it looks different than what we all expected, but its better too.
I laugh at most things and smile hard. And sure I tend to get ahead of myself still but I really love this process.
In the contrast I get obnoxious and stubborn and emotional but the cool thing is I see that in myself.
And the awareness is usually what confuses others, but what I have discovered I love most is that I can’t get it wrong and everything is rigged in my favor. I have too much evidence to show orherswise.
And I gotta agree with the line from Miss Congenility 2, “people love people who love themselves.”