What Do You Owe Yourself?

What Do You Owe Yourself?

It took months, but eventually one morning I rolled over and before she could even say good morning, I said, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to do this anymore. I just feel like we would be better off apart from now on.”
I wish I could say that she was in shock, but the truth is we both knew the relationship had been over for a while. And you know, it wasn’t even a “straw that broke the camels back” moment, I simply woke up and said to myself that I was going to make the choice to remove what wasn’t working in my life. I knew that the kisses were insincere. We were going through the motions because it was comfortable and each day it became increasingly easier to stay stagnant. I didn’t want the argument. I didn’t want to watch her cry. I didn’t want to lose the person who kept my bed warm. But easy and comfortable is has never been a good reason to maintain a relationship. You stay because they warm your soul, inspire your creativity, and the simple the thought of them makes you smile and feel lucky you found them before anyone else did.

I wanted to give myself that opportunity. And it was as simple as mustering the courage to make a different choice.

Every single day we make life altering decisions. Decisions that directly impact our happiness, the direction of our evolution, and the relationships we have. Decisions that dictate where we live, who we love, and what puts food on our table. The only problem is, most of the time we choose to ignore those choices.

We choose to continue to wake up next to someone who doesn’t fulfill our lives. We choose to continue to live in our little go-nowhere towns. We choose to stay at the jobs that make us miserable. We choose to maintain friendships with self-centered jerks. And for all the complaining we do, it’s rare that we ever acknowledge the fact that we are in control of almost all of it.

The distinction between you and the person you admire is that they were self-aware enough to change what they could and allowed more opportunity into their life. You could easily quit your job. Family or no family to care for, no one is telling you to be impulsive. You don’t have to just walk out screaming with two middle fingers in the air. You should always have a plan. An exit strategy. You should always be two steps ahead and planning your next move. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship and continue to live with someone because you’re scared to be alone or because you won’t be able to live on your own – make a plan. Because the difference between being sad and depression is the loss of hope. Having an exit strategy means having a plan and having a plan gives you hope. If you continue to put it off, if you refuse to make a decision, if you allow the choices of others to usurp your happiness day after day – that is the life you have chosen for yourself. Every single day you wake up and actively make choices to allow it to continue. And while you can’t change anyone’s behavior, you can certainly change whether or not you stick around. So when you roll over and see his face and you stay in that bed, that is your choice saying, I choose this. Every time you return a text from an abusive person, that is your choice saying, I will continue to allow your awful behavior in my life.

You literally control your scenery.
You don’t like that plant on the shelf? Throw it away.
You don’t like the people in your life? Create distance.
You don’t like your job? Plan your escape.
There is a world of options when it comes to dating and places to live and jobs and indoor foliage.
Most decisions take thought and a plan. But making those daily decision is on you and you alone. And it’s easy to look around and blame everyone else for making our scenery ugly. But the sobering truth is most everything we see around us is a collection of choices made by us. Avoiding those choices because you fear change or the judgment of friends and family doesn’t make you noble or responsible. It makes you a scared child.

And it is scary. Walking away from what you know is terrifying and you will second guess your choices and worry about making mistakes and dying alone but let me tell you, it is so much better than waking up next to a lie.

Because I could have easily rolled over and said, “Good morning,” like all the rest of the mornings but instead I chose to take a risk because I owed that to myself. So I guess what it comes down to one question – what do you owe yourself?

About author

Christopher Gutierrez

Christopher Gutierrez is the author of several books on love, sex, and relationships. He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Deep End, in addition to running Deadxstop Publishing. Since 2006, he has given hundreds of speakings at colleges, coffee houses and universities all over the world.

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