Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Giving up, or aggression?

In On the Radicalism of Leaving, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out a quote from a book he's reading:
Oftentimes to just go away is one of the most aggressive things that another person can do, and if the means of expressing discontent are limited, as in this case, it is one of the few ways in which pressure can put.
Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth Of Other Suns
Mr. Coates (and the book) are discussing the Great Migration, the movement of African-Americans away from the South in the 20th century. But the quote is worthwhile to me on a personal level.

As "kylara7" puts it in a comment to that article,
The quote captures one of the great personal "click" moments in my life, when it dawned on me that I was not obligated to dig in and try to fix unsolvable or entrenched problems with family, friends, workplace, or partners, and that one of the options on the table was to simply just walk away.
You don't have to keep trying. You don't have to give second and third and forty-fifth chances. You don't have to accept apologies. You don't have to forgive. You can move on.

Moving on has a price-it has many prices. But it also has rewards. One of them is that your life can be about something else, not about solving past problems. It can be about a new creative adventure, or making a new friend. It can be about working on your own issues instead of somebody else's.

I've never thought of it as aggressive before, but I can accept that the people you leave may receive it as aggressive and that may be one of the costs.

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