You know what one of the most disempowering things is that has ever come out of my mouth?
“He left me.”
I mean… how many times have we said this about someone in our life?
“He left me. She left me. He left us. They left us. F*ck them… selfish assholes for just picking up and taking off and leaving me here to rot.” blah blah.
Not very empowering is it?
It’s not like I’m just having this epiphany now… of understanding the power of my own words. But I really got it when someone I used to work with in a moment of anger said to me:
“You left me here. And nobody cares.”
And I get it. I feel this person’s disappointment and anger and frustration at me for making the choice to leave my job.
But the reality is. I just left.
I left for me. It wasn’t personal. I left for my own career growth and my own priorities and really to take care of myself which at the end of the day is what all of us should be doing. Self-care. Doing what feels right for us.
And unfortunately that may hurt other people because they will feel abandoned.
There are way more extreme circumstances then walking away from a job or a relationship or a marriage or friendship. There are parents who walk away from their children. And I’m not suggesting that any of us excuse that kind of abandonment but I have to believe that any parent who decides to walk away from their children do it because they feel somewhere in their heart that they aren’t capable of taking care of those children. For the sake of this article, I’m not going to touch that one. I’m focusing on relationships in general because this is where I feel most of us give our personal power away.
The way we language things… we give it power. When we say things like, “Well you just got up and left me with this mess.” or “You don’t care about me at all. You left me here to fend for myself at this crappy job, ” that’s personalizing things and that’s giving all of our power to THE OTHER PERSON.
What we’re saying is, “I don’t have the choice or the power to make things better for myself. That’s on you.”
Nope.. it’s not. It’s on us.
Some people reading this may think I sound insensitive and unsympathetic. I’m not. I’ve been left in many situations. In relationships, in friendships, at jobs… you name it. I’ve felt abandoned just like everybody else. I don’t have a special “SPARE ME FROM LEAVING ME” sign around my neck that makes me exempt from being a human being.
And like most of us, I’ve felt sorry for myself and blamed those people for their selfish abandonment of me and pointed my little self-righteous finger at them and cried about how hard my life is. And you know where that got me?
What got me somewhere was turning that little self-righteous finger back on myself and asking the question, “What can I do to get the support I need right now because this is tough! And it hurts. It’s OK to feel hurt but I have some choices here.”
Our language and how we talk about a situation has so much power. Energetically what we focus on magnifies. If we put all of our energy into those feelings of abandonment, being a victim, feeling as if the world is against us, that nobody wants to help and we’re all alone, this is exactly what we’ll draw in.
So change your thinking and change how you talk about the situation. Some examples:
“Some of my team members decided to leave the company and it’s really put a lot of pressure on me. I’m going to ask my boss for more help so I can do my job. If I can’t get it, maybe it’s time for me to leave myself.”
“My wife left the marriage (not me). I’m devastated and don’t understand it and I just need some support right now.”
“My friend stopped talking to me after 15 years of being friends. Clearly she’s going through something and I feel really hurt. But I’m glad I have other friends like you to talk about this with.”
When we do this, we put the focus on us and what we need to get through it rather than the other person and how their actions are destroying us. We’re taking responsibility for our own life and empowering ourselves by asking for what we need to make the situation just a little better.
And you know what… it sometimes doesn’t get better for awhile. It doesn’t, I’m not gonna lie. But we take it one day at a time. The days I personally have chosen to focus on what I have in my life and what options were available to me to get through the hardship were by far the better days and the days I felt like the badass, strong, powerful woman I am.
The days I chose to focus on, “They left me, and I’m a victim”… not so good.
People leave. It’s a part of life. But remember, they leave because of themselves. They leave because they also have a choice to pursue their own happiness and what they feel is right for them and their lives. It’s rarely about us. So don’t make it about you. The only part that’s about you is you taking the opportunity to make something better from them leaving.
And sometimes that’s why life gives us the opportunity at all.