Relationships: The Costs of Staying When We Should Leave
By Jack Adam Weber L.Ac., Dipl. C.H.
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
To stay in a relationship that doesn’t work, with someone whose integrity is significantly lacking, creates a downward spiral. It is hurtful to every aspect of our health, and is bad for the planet. What follows below is not a black and white account, so consider it to the degree that it feels true.
In our gut I think we know if a relationship doesn’t work, especially if we got into it (as we often do) for the sex, comfort, apathy, or our own loneliness. Yet, too often the fear, sadness, anger, and other difficult emotions we might have to face prevent us from leaving. Yet these are the same emotional places we denied to begin with, which, if we had faced and worked with them, could have prevented us from being frivolous with our precious hearts.
The inevitable result of fearing feeling our emotional pain is that we lie to ourselves — at the beginning, during, and at the end of a relationship. We have to ignore our guts, our bodies, its depths. We shut down a big part of our hearts to stay in denial. We sacrifice our own integrity to stay.
We become more of a taker than a giver because we have not found a way to be fulfilled by our own creative expression, because we have blocked this channel through the perpetual distraction of uncontrollable emotional codependency and acting out of old patterns.
As a result, our lives become superficial and anxiety-ridden. We cut ourselves off from the life-source of our bellies, from the creativity there, from our truth, from true security — all of which, in their fuller blossoming, lie at the transformed other end of our difficult emotions.
When we lie to ourselves, we become cold to other people, and uncaring, because we are being uncaring to ourselves. We become irritable and angry and selfish… because in our truth of truths we know we are not leaving what does not work, and we think we cannot. We cut ourselves off from the essence of life, which is to pursue a life that is honest, clear, and which calls to us from the very place we shut down in our fear. To lose track of one’s calling in life is to suffer greatly. Even if one cannot live it out, to honestly hear and to know that calling, is nourishing and comforting.
To get to this honesty is hard work. That’s why we deny it. But the joy of freedom, to be able to sit with oneself, quietly, and feel a deep “yes” is irreplaceable.
When we ignore our deep truth, we become addicts and act like addicts, unable to save ourselves from what doesn’t work. If this persists long enough, we develop other addictions and soon may altogether lose our compass in life. When we lose our compass we produce trash, on many levels. The saying goes…
“A true act leaves no wake.”
This is only one example demonstrating the downward cycle that results, ironically, from not facing our own pain and allowing ourselves to be transformed by it. This is the death that renews us. In denying this symbolic death, we make of our lives a living death, even if we are shiny on the outside. Yet we know inside if we are living a lie. We may be the only ones who know. And, that is enough. We are also the only ones who need to know if we are living truthfully. What everyone else sees and cares about means nothing, if we are lying. If they appreciate us, we can’t let in deeply because we are living a lie.
When we ignore the dark, our lives become haunted. Our light is fear-ridden, fickle, and flimsy. Our love becomes make-believe.
The way back is to follow our guts, what we know to be right, and endure all the difficult emotions that prevented us from doing what is right, from living honestly and wisely. Sometimes it takes years of denial and suffering until finally we are ready. It is never too late, though it becomes harder the more fake lives and substitute pleasures we heap on top of our initial denials.
There is no pleasure greater than living a deeply honest life, of following our truest callings. This is inner richness. It is worth more than all the superficial riches we acquired by lying, because we cannot enjoy those riches when our hearts are closed and shame-ridden, and our guts clogged with fear of facing the quiet truth inside.
To create a rich life, we must keep our hearts and our bellies clear, which means to live honestly and fiercely courageously, which includes being willing to deal with the most difficult feelings and journeys.
So, if this speaks enough to you, maybe today is the day you will begin to let go of what doesn’t work. Maybe today is the beginning of a new life, with yourself first — of letting the floodgates of freedom open again, and enduring all the muddy water until it runs clear again, which it will, because this is the gift of a true heart, from which emerge your gifts to the world, as the universe and all its supporting graces becomes yours again.
As a river has a natural course, so do our callings, our soul’s path. But this does not mean that we don’t have to do lots of paddling. It means we have to do more, which beats sinking and pretending to be afloat, anyway.
Once the water runs clear, we are more careful and ever-cautious not to pollute our lives by getting into and staying in situations that we know are wrong for us. We are more interested in using that energy to be effective in the world.
The more honest we become, the clearer and more caring our lives and actions become. And this allows us to be more aware of what is right for us, which in turn keeps us, and our relations, healthier. This is the upward spiral, rooted in honest connection with our depths, our deepest callings, the ground of life.
To be fair, we are all complicated. We should not expect relationships to be any different. If we do, then this is likely our “grass is always greener” projection. Many times we don’t know whether to stay or to go, or hang in there. In these dubious situations, if we want to grow and actually change, it can be worthwhile to stick it out in relationship and work on ourselves with rock bottom honesty, even if our partner doesn’t. Or if we do leave, we should still work on our stuff alone. This is the honesty that can save our lives.
Most relationships can be worked out, when both parties do the inner work. And this is the most valuable work, meaning that we should not quit a relationship just because it is tough and troublesome. But, this is not the scenario I have described above, which is to deny our deep true selves, which usually is riddled with lots of passive-aggressive sex and an impotency to follow what we know is right.
About the author:
Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac. is a Chinese medicine physician, author, celebrated poet, organic farmer, and activist for body-centered spirituality. His books, artwork, and provocative poems can be found at his website PoeticHealing.com. He is also the creator of The Nourish Practice, an Earth-based rejuvenation meditation. Weber is available by phone for medical consultations and life-coaching.