Q: How do I know when it's time to let go?

We have all had moments when we felt uncertain about our next move—or wondered if we should make one at all.

"Do I stay in this relationship or leave it behind? Do I stick with this job or look for another?"

"Am I really happy living in this city, or would I be happier somewhere else?"

While these decisions can feel daunting, the red flags that tell you it may be time to walk away are actually easy to recognize:

1. You feel like you're fighting an uphill battle.
None of us should expect to tiptoe through tulips all day long, but if you spend most of your time trying to fix, alter, or cope with a situation, there is a good chance it's not the right one for you. Joy is a natural outcome of being where you should be. So if you're constantly struggling to feel good, it's probably time for a change.

2. You feel obligated, not excited, to stay.
Relationships based on obligation rarely last long, because they always—always—lead to resentment and bitterness. Having a must hanging over your head limits your ability to choose, and because choice is power, lack of choice will make you feel powerless. Staying because you think you have to isn't doing anyone any favors: If you don't want to be there, you won't be able to give of yourself in any way that's meaningful.

3. You're not valued.
Nothing is more damaging than knowing you are disposable. When you give your all to someone or something but can see plain as day how little it matters to whoever is on the receiving end, it's time to go. Don't allow yourself to be compared with others, don't allow yourself to be put down more often than you're lifted up, and do not, under any circumstances, accept less than you deserve. Those are clear exit signs.

4. Fear is holding you back.
When you stay only because of the scary things that might or might not happen if you go, you make a conscious decision not to grow. And living in a way that stunts your growth always has a price. Staying merely out of habit or comfort costs you more opportunities than you know.

5. You're compromising yourself. Integrity is the internal mechanism that encourages us to do what's right for us even when others disagree. When you ignore that mechanism—whether to make someone else feel better or to save yourself the difficulty of doing right—you wind up causing yourself a lot of heartache. The misery of feeling bad about who you are or how you're accommodating everyone except yourself will eventually pollute the very situation you're trying to preserve. Don't let that happen. Steel your courage, face the truth, and get moving.

Iyanla Vanzant is the host of OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life and the author of Peace From Broken Pieces (SmileyBooks).

Learn how to forgive everyone for everything—sign up for Iyanla’s on-demand eCourse today.


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