Updated: Jan 14, 2020
So often we find ourselves staying in toxic situations far too long. We discovered in the previous article The Catalyst of Pain that pain is just an indicator of something that needs to change. If we can capitalize on our pain to see where we need healing we can grow and change.
How much pain do we tolerate before enough is enough? How do we know when its time to walk away from dysfunction? How many times do you need to be mistreated and emotionally or verbally abused at work before you are willing to walk away? How much will you take?
I found that I had a serious misconception for most of my life. It crippled me. It kept me places longer than I should have and made taking care of myself a promise I could never keep. This was true in relationships, jobs, friendships, and pretty much every area of life.
Loyalty for the sake of loyalty is not intrinsically noble or good. Loyalty to emotional health is.
It may be shocking to say loyalty for the sake of loyalty can ever be a bad thing. Let me give you an example.
I know someone who worked for an organization that was treated like ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. She would be harassed and was screamed and yelled at regularly. She did this for a measly ten dollars an hour.
Whenever they called and needed her to come in, what do you think she did? She went in and worked. She would perform to their expectations and then would be told she hasn't done enough. Did I mention she is good at her job? She could easily find the same job in her field.
Surely you are asking the question at this point. WHY WON'T SHE LEAVE. Who wants to be treated that badly for ten dollars an hour.
The problem is that her emotional pain tolerance is extremely high. She always said she was staying because they needed her, and the people she worked with relied on her. She was being loyal.
She had a sense of duty and loyalty to her organization and peers and was willing to compromise everything for the sake of being loyal. At some point, you have become too loyal to what the healthiest thing for you, which will, in turn, be the healthiest thing for your organization in the long run.
Let me give you a personal example.
When I was in high school I was in a relationship with a girl. She was great. My relationship with her father was not. It eventually ended up coming to a point where she wasn't allowed to talk to me, and I wasn't allowed to talk to her.
It really wasn't a good relationship for either of us. I was really dysfunctional and had a lot of fear of abandonment from my past. I naturally didn't want her to experience the thing I feared the most and decided I would be loyal and try to make the relationship work anyway.
We would get in trouble and it was never a good situation. It really only brought me pain. I kept going back for another serving of it. It becomes so painful, and caused so much anxiety in me I finally had to end it. Not because someone else was making me, advised me to, or any reason other than I had to do what was best for me.
I finally broke it off and began the process of healing. Something else happened too: I learned to grow loyal to my own emotional health. I learned I didn't have to "choose to suffer for another" to be a decent human. It was actually better for both of us when I chose a healthier path.
I could endless examples, but this also can relate to family, employees, habits, and so forth.
The higher your pain tolerance, the more dysfunctional you are. We have to get to a place where we can see that something is not good for us and learn to choose health.
Evaluate your own life and see where are you allowing less than optimal circumstances to prevail. Make the choice. Make the change. I promise it is worth it.