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I witnessed explosive anger today from an unlikely source. A woman, who I don’t really know, took offense at something said and stomped out, leaving the person she was with standing there. Then a little later, she returned, saying she really wanted to give her companion space, even though the only person clearly fuming was her.

We’ve all been there. Some of us might even have done something that foolish. And if we did, we know it never leads to anything good.

How do you know when to walk away and when to stay? I have to ask myself that question every time I’m tempted to leave an unpleasant situation: do I want to leave because it’s too much of a challenge, or because I’ve done everything I could and now it’s time to invest my energy elsewhere?

The simple answer: How am I feeling?

Am I fuming so badly I can’t think straight? If I am, then I know it’s all about me, and before I do anything, I need to own at least that.

Or, am I at the point of exhaustion, feeling my energy draining even thinking about getting involved ever again? In that case, perhaps it’s time to end things (with grace) and move on.

Or, is it a challenge to me to try and figure this out? Does it energize me when I contemplate moving towards it? If so, then do just that – move towards it, and see what happens.

Do I stay or do I go? The answer begins with self-honesty and then self-knowing.

Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” – Paulo Coelho



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .

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