What’s the difference between a mindful change of perspective and running away?
Often, it’s about perspective.
It makes a huge difference if we are the one who is changing or the one who has to accept changes.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. If you read any of my recent articles, you might have seen this coming: I need to make changes.
But before I was able to take this step, I was trapped in my own mind for weeks.
Is everyone going to hate me? Are they going to call me a traitor? Am I losing my friends? What am I going to do next? Maybe I am making a huge mistake?
After many sleepless nights, I asked myself, “What’s the price of not taking action?”
Here are three questions to ask ourselves when we think about changes and new beginnings:
1. What’s the worst-case scenario?
Our own minds can be our biggest enemies. One of my favorite German comedians just wrote a book with the title “Don’t believe everything you think.”
And there is a lot of truth to this advice.
When we are worried about the reaction of our colleagues, partners, or friends, we tend to think about the worst possible outcome. But maybe that is part of the problem?
The only way to avoid worst-case scenarios or fallouts is honesty. There is no way of sugarcoating a breakup, quitting, or ending a friendship. But there is a mindful way of doing it.
And it’s actually pretty simple: we just need to be honest.
There is no need to spend sleepless nights thinking about the right wording. Our brain might tell us a story about the worst possible outcome. We often forget that playing games, making excuses, and avoiding conversations are the things that actually create the dramatic situations we are scared of.
If we share our truth and folks get upset about that, we never had a chance anyway.
2. What happens if we decide not to take action?
Often we are scared of that one conversation but forget about the danger of not taking action.
When we feel the urge to make changes, it doesn’t automatically mean that someone else made a mistake. Maybe it’s us and not them?
But if we avoid taking action, we are setting ourselves up to start externalizing our frustration. The moment we start getting angry at our partners, colleagues, or friends, we might have crossed that crucial point of no return.
Instead of blaming the ones around us, we could ask ourselves, “Is it me?”
The only constant in life is change. But there is no need to leave with a big bang. There is no need for a mic drop or a rant.
How about acknowledging that we had a good time but feel the urge to move on? How about accepting that everything has its time?
Not taking action literally doesn’t change anything. If we are already frustrated, there is a high chance of things getting even worse. And maybe our fear of change is just a form of procrastination?
Maybe our fear of change and lack of communication skills are what made these changes necessary in the first place?
3. What did we learn?
The main goal of switching up things is to better our situation. When we end a relationship, we want a better relationship. When we quit our job, we want a better job. When we cancel a friendship, we want to spend time with more inspiring people.
But what about replacing these ideas of linear growth with a more mindful approach?
Instead of running away from what doesn’t serve us anymore, why not remind ourselves of the good parts? Every relationship, job, or friendship teaches us something. And if it doesn’t, it tells us more about us than about our interactions with others.
Even if we decide to leave someone or something, that doesn’t automatically mean that we are over it. Maybe it’s just not the right time? Maybe each party involved needs to spend some time without the other?
Sometimes it takes time to learn the lessons we are supposed to learn—whether it’s the ones we are interacting with or ourselves.
But nobody learns anything by bashing our ex-partners or the company we worked for—it also doesn’t change anything.
The real change happens when we are able to appreciate what we learned along the way. Authentic change happens when we realize things we didn’t notice when we felt frustrated. Sometimes we need to take a step back to see the full picture.
Once we see the full picture, we might even be able to go back to what we left—or not.
But in a perfect world, every interaction with others teaches us something. Everything we do has some sort of impact on others.
Even if we see our ex-partner doing much better in a new relationship, it’s not a reason to be upset. Maybe they learned something in our relationship that enabled them to find happiness? Even if our boss is doing better than before we quit, there is no reason for resentment. Maybe he or she learned something during our time together?
After asking myself these three questions, I took a decision that comes as a surprise to those who support my work and (hopefully) enjoy reading my articles: I am taking a break.
And again, it’s not you; it’s me.
I learned so much throughout the last two years of regularly writing my heart out. I am so happy to see more and more articles on timely topics—some of them better than anything I could ever write.
I learned that not taking action creates tension that isn’t helpful to anyone.
And most importantly, I learned that speaking our truth is always the best way to go.
Of course, not every work environment is as mindful as the vibe at Elephant Journal. I know that there are examples of relationships that don’t end well. But that doesn’t make it wrong to do the right thing.
Taking a break from writing doesn’t mean that I will never write again. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t see new articles popping up on your timeline in the near future.
I am not running away; I am just aiming for a mindful change of perspective.
It’s time not to spend 10 hours per day online looking for the next big story. It’s time to integrate everything I learned. It’s time to take a deep breath.
Robert needs to find balance.
Thanks to everyone who supported my work.
I will be back.
And to all the authors, editors, and folks who love Elephant Journal as much as I do: the world needs our voices. The world needs your voice. Please keep writing, reading, and sharing mindful content.
And as I am about to start a project that involves sports, I would like to use an analogy that seems to fit perfectly:
I am not leaving the team. I am just exhausted and need to take a seat on the bench for some time. But I am still cheering for our team and have 100 percent confidence in my teammates.
The teammate I am talking about is you.
May it be of benefit.