When Leaving Everything Behind Is the Only Option

· May 10, 2017

Sometimes, leaving everything behind is the only option. It’s not an act of cowardice or surrender. People who choose to pack their bags and look towards the horizon are truly brave. Because ultimately, you get tired of having a broken heart, of crying when no one’s watching, and before the wind blows your soul away, you have to get out and start somewhere new.

Leaving it all behind doesn’t mean forgetting everything you’ve been through or throwing away all of your identities and ties. It simply means transforming yourself, integrating your past, present, and desire for the future into one being, a single entity capable of creating itself instead of being content in its suffering and pain. Like a sandcastle at the edge of the ocean, living in misery cannot be sustained.

“If you don’t scale the highest mountain, you’ll never enjoy the view.”

-Pablo Neruda-

In some way, we’ve all experienced this sensation, or will at some point. The feeling that part of your surroundings have lost their meaning or withered away. Some people have the desperate need to experience new things, while others just need to get away from everything around them for their own physical and/or emotional health.

Whatever the reason, leaving everything behind isn’t easy. Along with your luggage, you bring fear and uncertainty with you, and even though your mind is telling you to go, your heart feels incapable of closing the suitcase.

birds flying

Leaving it all behind is an act of survival

We often discuss on this website how the brain doesn’t like change. Change involves risk, and therefore, a challenge to your survival. However, in some situations, your emotions, instincts, and behaviors send you warning signs.

For example, say you’re going through a period of intense stress and your demanding environment has led you to the breaking point. And instead of managing this pressure, you get carried away by the unrelenting tide. But one day, when it’s time to catch the train to work, your feet and mind go in another direction. You start walking and walking, until you get to the outskirts of the city without really knowing how. There, you find calm, repose, and balance.


You needed to escape. Your survival instinct suddenly took the reins and offered you what you needed the most: distance and silence. The brain doesn’t like change, but remember that it will do whatever it can to survive. The invitation to leave everything behind indicates a need for self-care that you shouldn’t ignore.

man on magic carpet

Let’s look at the interesting example of John Tierney, a journalist from the New York Times whose book Willpower, which described his own experiences with stress, anxiety, and external pressure, became a bestseller.

He explained that when you maintain self-control for too long, you can destroy yourself. Living in oppressive situations will cause you to break down sooner or later. Your brain will slam its hands down on the table to make you understand that either you make a change, or you’ll simply lose everything.

Thought Patterns that Create Anxiety and Stress

Find the life you were meant to live

If the life you’re living right now doesn’t fit into your inner puzzle, then leave. If you’re a stranger in your own life, go and find yourself. If your reality is full of sharp edges, fly away. Your physical and emotional health will thank you.

Only you can make the decision to leave everything behind. For some people, it’s enough to make small changes to improve their well-being. For others, gradual change won’t do. It won’t alleviate, heal, or fix anything. They have to take a bigger step to put more distance between them and the things that once defined them.

Below, we’ll offer you some strategies to reflect on.

girl in dark house

Tips for living your true life

When you leave everything behind, you have to remember why you’re doing it and what goal you have in mind. When you have a “why,” you can figure out any “how.” If you want to make a change, do it effectively, so that you can be who you really want to be: someone who is happy, who takes control, who takes chances.

When you navigate these emotional tidal waves, it’s necessary to do some self-reflection. The best answer to what you should or shouldn’t do is within you.

Leaving everything behind doesn’t mean you’re running away. Therefore, you should make it very clear why you’re doing it. Be self-assured in your desires and needs. Take full control over your actions.

Nobody can guarantee that this change will go well, but it could be the best thing in your life. So manage your fears and uncertainties. How? By turning them into hopes.

Finally, remember that your only purpose in life is to grow. But you have to find the best places to do so, because not all locations are healthy places to plant your roots.

Letting Go: Accepting the Past, Being Open to the Future