How to Walk Away

I was once told that the bravest people are those who don’t care what others think of them. They have the ability to walk away, even if they’re being scorned. Their power lies not in how they are seen by the world, but how they see themselves.

Walking away from something is hard. We are emotionally invested creatures, and our brain tends to overthink situations instead of simply letting them pass. Some of us tend to think of the worst-case scenarios. Others tend to leap without looking; some fall because they’ve looked too hard. But all of us care, at one point or another. We care about the friend who let us down, or the relative whom we loved but who was taken by time, or the book we’re reading. But we also care about our wonderful best friend, and the wonderful professor we have, and how the birds sing in the morning, and how we are often filled with hope. Even though bad things happen, life gives us a leg up: we get to choose which side — the good or the bad — to focus on. The problem lies in learning how to choose which.

My advice is to simply walk away. Don’t become so invested in your problems and sadness that you lose out on some of life’s joys by focusing on its tragedies. Don’t become so obsessed about what people think of you, that you shrink when they look at you through their microscopes. Instead, walk away from all those fears. Walk away from anything that’s over. Walk away from something you regret doing years ago, or how someone treated you. It’s done. So walk away.

Walking away is hard at first: you can feel guilty for walking away, or wrong about leaving the past the way it is. But you’ve got to. The only way to move on is to accept what has happened in the past. Once something has happened, you can’t do much about it. You might regret how you’ve acted or what you did, but you can’t change it. So stop thinking about it, and look instead towards what is in front of you.

If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that everyone’s life is a graph with high and low points. But which points you look at determine how you see your life. So the next time you regret that break up, or what you said to that friend weeks ago, or the D- you got on a paper, forget about it and move on. Forget about what Kathy thinks about you, or how terrible you think you look to people you pass on the street. Instead, focus on all the good that’s happened in your life (even simple things, like your favorite song or the way the sky looks in the morning). Don’t look at the bad. Walk away from all that crap, and kick it to the curb. Don’t let it live another day in your conscience. Don’t let it have so much power over you.

Look at all the negative, and walk away from it. You’ve got more important places to be anyway. 


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