Several years ago, my son and his daughter came to spend the afternoon with me. It was one of those days that screamed for ice cream. Sitting in a booth at Dairy Queen, I watched as my granddaughter’s chubby two-year-old hand clutched her cone when suddenly the ice cream began dripping down the sides and over her fingers.
My son, in true fatherly- fashion, leaned over to lick a drip. Pulling her cone back, she quickly flicked up her other hand in front of his face and said,
“Just walk away, Daddy!”
Not being all together clear on what I had heard, a mixture of surprise and amusement blurted out of me.
“What did she say?” I questioned.
My son began chuckling and replied,
“She said, “JUST WALK AWAY.” They teach the kids to say that in preschool when someone does something they don’t like. They raise their hand and say just walk away in an attempt to avoid an argument. She has learned this pretty well and has decided it works at home on us too.”
I could not stop thinking of the brilliance of what I had just learned from a 2-year-old. I understand there are times in life when just walking away is not appropriate. We all have responsibilities and obligations that even when difficulties occur, we cannot and should not walk away from.
But there are times in life when conflict can be avoided by just walking away. How many times could we just walk away --even temporarily, to cool down, clear our thoughts, and take a mental time out before tackling the problem? Think of situations you have experienced that seemed worth an altercation at the time, but in hindsight were minor issues. Was it really worth complaining about? Was the scathing letter really worth writing? Were the words thrown in anger worth the damage they caused? Right now, I am sure replays of regret are running through your mind.
Can YOU create a Just Walk Away Plan with your spouse, partner, or family? Everyone involved must understand the terms of the agreement. When the words, “We Need To Walk Away,” are spoken it means the conversation will suspend and those involved will disengage.
When tempers cool, circumstances calm, and the climate clears then come back together to revisit what happened. You may find the issue is no longer important enough to talk about. When you adopt and accept this procedure you will be surprised at just how backing off for a while can create a calm space to re-calibrate the situation from a possible conflict into a positive communication experience. You will begin to assess situations quickly and the vision of a hand will go up in your mind’s eye warning you that this may be one of those occasions where it is best to Just Walk Away.
There are bigger times in life when walking away for good and never coming back together is the right option. There are times when we hold on too long to friends, relationships, and careers. Why do we do this? One word - Fear.
You may have been inseparable with your friend for years, but now your lives have drifted apart- but the memories and unfounded loyalty created a cocoon of guilt that keeps you in a one-sided friendship. The stress of a job may be jeopardizing your health, but you are afraid of searching, applying, interviewing, and rejection – who will hire you? A romantic relationship may not be good, but fear of being alone keeps you from leaving.
Walking away for good is hard. It should not be done on a whim or in a fog of anger. It takes deep thought and heart searching. When the place of resolve fills you with the peace of knowing it is time, walking away permanently can be the right thing to do. Until you let go of the fear and walk away, you will never see what beauty the future may bring.
Whether it is a temporary cool down or a permanent break, there are times when the right thing to do is walk away.
Pennie's Life Lesson: “There are times in life when the best option is to Just Walk Away.”
Pennie Heart to Heart
JUST WALK AWAY
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