Staying away and running away are two very different things. I have a friend who strongly believes that running from negative situations will only hinder our growth. She says that forcibly staying in a difficult situation teaches you how to conduct yourself around those kinds of people—to handle them, if you will. She says choosing to run from the situation, rather than staying and growing from it, will leave you running in circles for the rest of your life because you are bound to meet someone like them again.
I partially agree with my friend. I don’t believe we should run when we feel uncomfortable. Discomfort sprouts growth, and that’s the purpose of life. Some of our most uncomfortable situations will bring us to our most elevated ones.
But choosing to run from a situation that is mentally exhausting and has you pushing every limit isn’t healthy or good for growth, either. Some situations are simply toxic. The learning comes afterward when you are removed from the situation and can reflect on it as a whole — rather than in pieces with each passing day it plays out.
We should always be mindful of our actions and thoughts, especially when we begin to feel discomfort, fear, or exhaustion. Are you running or staying away because it’s easier, comfortable, or relieving? Those are all very different reasons why you should stay or why you should go.
I like to think about what I need versus what I want. What I want is usually very different than what I actually need. Do I need to quit my job because my boss is demanding and has me working on tasks that are beyond my knowledge? Yes, because I might feel intimidated or stressed out. Will this position help me grow in experience? Absolutely. As long as my boss isn’t disrespectful in her demands and is simply assigning me tasks that come with the job itself, then the best decision would be to stay and confront my fear of failure and to walk away from what is comfortable.
Now, let’s say I’m in a relationship with a partner who is opposite of me in every way. We fight constantly about our opposing views—political, social, spiritual, religious, etc. The fighting continues even years after trying to work through our disagreements. Despite our efforts, we can’t seem to compromise or find common ground. So, I ask myself, what do I want and what do I need? I want to stay and work it out with my partner because I love them and we’ve been together for so long—I don’t want to give up. But despite our love, we can’t seem to make it work. What do I need? I need to take some time to myself. I’ve tried working through our relationship with them for years. Nothing seems to work, and I can’t handle the negative emotions encapsulating me anymore—it’s beginning to take a toll on my mental health. I need to leave.
Every situation warrants a different tactic. Only you know what you want and what you need. Ask yourself those questions and see if staying is the right choice or if leaving is.
If you are in a domestic, mentally, verbally, or emotionally abusive relationship, you should seek help immediately. This solely pertains to individuals who find themselves in stressful, uncomfortable, and tiring situations—not dangerous ones.