Have you ever felt mixed emotions about leaving a situation or a person? If so, you are not alone; it makes sense to feel this way because human beings are complex and nuanced. Although we may not always have the emotional bandwidth to facilitate all emotions at once, we can experience them. Because of the inherent complex nature of humans, it makes sense to feel varying emotions about leaving a situation or person—even when we initiate the departure. Often, even the idea of leaving brings us into a reminiscing period of the positive times, the nostalgia may sneak up on us. We may begin to doubt our decision to leave in the first place. Having positive memories or doubting your decision doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward. It is okay to miss someone or something even if you made the choice to leave. It is okay to have good memories and still choose a different path. Think about why you wanted to leave in the first place.
The reality is that no situation or person is typically going to be one hundred percent negative, or you would not have pursued or stayed to begin with. There is usually a gray area in most situations. This does not translate to, “Then I guess I better stay.” Remember: you can do hard things and feel uncomfortable emotions. The process of leaving may elicit many mixed emotions. It is quite possible to hold space for happiness and grief; allow them to coexist. When we decide we must feel one over the other, we may rush back to situations or people that are not healthy for us.
Here are some examples of nuanced situations. Hint: Using the word “and” instead of “but” creates room for emotions and complexities.
- A person may be a good person and still not be your person.
- A job may have treated you well, and you can still want to leave.
- You may feel attached to a home and still recognize it is time to move.
- A person in your life may pass away, and you may experience sadness and peace.
- You can love your parents, and acknowledge they harmed you in some ways.
- You can be glad the pandemic has improved and miss quarantine.
- Your schoolwork can stress you out, and you can be glad you are in school.
- You can complain and still be grateful.
Can you think of any examples?
If you would like to speak to a professional counselor about topics, such as the one featured in this blog, and are in the Chicago area, please contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written by Liz, Mental Health Counseling Master’s Level Intern