The Salvage Move

“A lady always knows when to leave.”

It’s a line that I first heard in a movie years ago, and it’s a line I’ve heard used by many in various contexts since then. I find it to be a lovely truth, and it’s one that I’ve tweaked to apply to certain situations I’ve encountered in my life.

I didn’t know when to leave Connecticut, even though so much can be said about the things that went on there.

The writing was on the wall.

I should have been able to read between the lines.

I should have cut my losses.

Any other saying you can think of is probably something else I should’ve done, too. But I didn’t. I think sometimes we have a tendency to stay too long – in a job that we know isn’t right but that we want to stick out for the sake of our resume; in a situation that has us on edge but that we don’t want to leave because someone might be offended, or because we might be considered rude; in a relationship that leaves us wanting something more – more patience, more understanding, more caring – but that we don’t detach from because of a mountain of small things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme (but which we believe do at the time).

We often know the exact moment the tide turns; it’s in someone’s reaction, it’s the intangible vibe that hangs in the air, in communication that becomes clumsy, messy or convoluted when it never was before.

Most of us can take a hint. I think sometimes we just choose to ignore them.

The salvage move is also known as a last-ditch effort; there’s a lot to be said for having a heart to heart about the issues at hand and appealing to someone on a basic, human level instead of in a finger-pointing manner. Calling upon someone’s humanity doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stay – it just buys you some time to regain a little sanity until you leave. It buys you time to address what might be going horribly wrong and be the bigger person. And at the end of the day, it buys you time so that a graceful exit can be made.

Moving on is one of the most underrated yet important things we can do for our spirit. I’ve placed so much value on sticking things out despite having personal appeals and attempts at bridge-building thrown back at me that I’ve not become better for hanging around – I’ve only been the recipient of more stomachaches, more unhappiness, more stress, more worry, and more wondering why I didn’t end something the moment I knew I should, instead of letting someone else end it on their terms. And I’m tired of it.

Today I am thankful for knowing that the salvage move is something that bridges the gap between resigning oneself to poor treatment and leaving without any explanation whatsoever. Make no mistake – the move is more for us than for the other person, because it allows us to voice what’s important to our soul and our being on a deeply personal level, and what we need from someone else. It salvages a bit of the dignity and honor that’s so easily taken by others these days, and gives us the green light to move on when our needs are not being met.

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