On Staying Too Long

I love this quote from Charlotte Bronte’s book Jane Eyre: “I can live alone if self-respect and circumstances require me to do so. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

I had a print with this quote in my office for years and so many men and women asked for it that I made copies to give them. I think that it applies to so much more of life than living alone. Good examples of this are staying in a job or career which just doesn’t fit, may never fit or simply is no longer right. Keeping a friendship which is no longer friendly and makes you feel bad. This applies to family too. Someone will be talking to me about a family member who causes them extraordinary pain. I ask “would you be friends with this person if she/he was not a relative.” Usually the response is instantaneously “no.” This is a tough one because then what often follows is “but they are family.” Why let anyone abuse you?

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