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Don't Be Miserable

Sometimes we stay places because they are comfortable. Not enjoyable and not bringing us contentment but just because they are comfortable. We have to know these are different things. Being comfortable too often means avoiding things that we fear. Avoiding failure. Avoiding new challenges. And in that comfort what we often find instead is discontentment. There are jobs and relationships we don’t even know are making us miserable. We aren’t even aware of it because of the insulating lies we tell ourselves: That we do this for the money. That we can’t find anything else. That he or she loves me even if I am unhappy. Lies like these are so dangerous. And the truth is many of us could go on in those jobs or those relationships and life would go by with no serious ups or downs. But do we really want to live a life with no ups or downs? No change or growth? Do we want to be miserable? Because I think a life of only comfortable choices will eventually lead to misery.

I know this all too well. The truth is a lot of my identity over the years has been found in my career. Its failures and successes were my gauge. There is nothing innately wrong with this unless you are unhappy on that path and then nothing truly feels successful. So there I was on a path, one that I thought made sense because every next move I envisioned led to the next ‘step on the ladder’. A path I thought I had to keep following to be successful. But one day I walked away. I had one conversation that put the line in the sand and it awoke me to my own misery. This conversation wasn’t a friend giving me some great advice it was conversation with a powerful person at my job telling me I wasn’t worth what I thought I was. That left me with a choice; I could finally put my happiness first and let go or I could continue on a path simply because I thought it was where I needed to be and was comfortable. I made the choice to let go. And letting go was simultaneously scarier then hell and the most freeing moment of my life. I was scared because I would have to learn how to redefine that part of me but I was truly free to do so. I missed knowing exactly who I was, or at least who I thought I was. I left because I finally realized how miserable I was but I had no idea what was next. I knew walking away would be hard. I assumed when it all began I would simply be on the path to a new job, but in reality it brought me to a new direction. The decision to leave marked the first time I had ever left a job without any clear idea of what was next. That uncertainty can be both terrifying and thrilling (mostly terrifying). I certainly didn’t know how to navigate all of it, but I trusted myself and the decision I made and continued to move forward with that knowledge. Being uncomfortable forced me to explore other passions that had been stifled for so long. It also forces you to examine yourself and be truthful about what makes you happy in life. When you don’t know what is ahead you are willing to try and explore new avenues which leads to so many unexpected places. I had to rediscover my identity and learn to separate my professional success from my personal success. I had to find my own direction, move forward and not allow the fear of the unknown hold me back. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all ups. It was a lot of downs. There were a lot of unknowns. But it was a decision to walk away from being miserable and that was one of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself.

No matter what might be making you miserable today the good news is you can always walk away. You have put yourself in this situation, and likely, if you are anything like me, you have overstayed your welcome. Maybe you have lost your joy, but first you need to realize that before you can take the next step. Know that change is hard. Leaving a comfortable place is not easy. There will be great days and there will be terrible days. The truth about the growth is that it hurts, but it also allows you to become someone you may not have expected. It forces you to face down your fears, to fail and fail hard, but learn more than you ever planned to. It forces you to look inside yourself and ask tough questions and sometimes get even tougher answers. But it will be worth it. It will change who you are. It will make you better. And most importantly it will free you from your misery.