Graduation season is upon us. It’s the time of year when we celebrate those finishing their academic journeys. From high school to college, graduate school, and even kindergarten, great lengths will be gone to toast hard-working students as they launch into the next season of their lives.
Finishing a chapter of schooling is a welcomed ending. So much so that most of us don’t focus on what is ending; we focus on what is ahead. Yet most endings aren’t viewed in such a positive light. And we can often delay the ones we need the most. If you’ve ever felt stuck in a job, a difficult relationship, or a not-so-successful business deal, you know what I mean.
Why is leaving something behind often so difficult for us? It can be because we are afraid of the unknown, of admitting failure, or of the sadness and loss associated with walking away. It can also be because we’ve been taught to persevere through challenges so much that deciding to end something can feel like we are less than.
If you do not end what isn’t working for you today, you won’t get to a better tomorrow. Endings are a natural part of life; the more we can proactively invite them into our lives, the better off we are.
Here are signs that letting something go could be valuable:
Life seems to be moving too fast. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. If your days are rushed, hurried, and mostly exhausting, you are likely in a position where your good life, talent, and positive experiences have produced too much. The more you thrive, the more opportunities you encounter. Yet too much can lead to stress and fatigue. Pay attention to the signs that less, better is needed in your life.
You see signs that you are demonstrating an overstrength of a positive value. Have you been too loyal in a relationship? Maybe you’ve stuck by someone at all costs, only to realize you aren’t growing, evolving, or in a positive, productive relationship anymore. Perhaps you’ve taken care to support someone else so much that now you are potentially coddling or enabling instead of empowering. Reflect on the health of the relationships in your life. Which ones might benefit from having distance or gently letting go to allow peace and positivity to flourish?
You are experiencing consistent pain or frustration. While having a high pain threshold can be helpful sometimes, it’s not always the case. Pain in the form of worry, anger, or anxiousness is valuable when it inspires us to see more clearly where change is needed in our lives. Encourage yourself to address your tougher emotions with action. Action that can include necessary endings.
Fresh starts are important for all of us; to get to them well, we often must stop something. Intentionally ending something isn’t a failure; it’s choosing to be open to a better future.
PS- For more on this valuable topic, I recommend reading Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud.