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  • Writer's pictureHelen Dillon-Cottee

A different kind of hard

Very often we stick with what is known even if that thing needs to change. Because of the work I do to help people reform their lives, I see people stuck in toxic relationships with family members, in bad patterns in their parenting or marriage, in toxic work spaces and institutions. I see people tolerating bad or toxic patterns - and let's be super clear - staying in a toxic space is HARD WORK.

And yet people do it.

I did it. I have stayed too long in toxic relationships, I have accepted unacceptable behaviours from people, I have found myself not only involved in, but leading in, an organisation that was highly problematic.


Because leaving, changing or reforming from the inside seemed too hard.

Here's the truth - those things are hard. It's hard to change or leave a marriage, to reform your relationship with your parent or sister or best friend. It's hard to deconstruct from a faith environment and it's tough to try and change the way you work, or place you work in, or your whole career. It's hard for lots of people to come out, it's hard to call out racism or sexism or discrimination - reform is hard work.

But let's not pretend that not reforming is easy, it's just a different kind of hard.

If you have done hard things in the past, you have the muscle to do the next hard thing. It may be different hard, but you have evidence that you can do hard things.

And so the question is whether you are choosing to stay in a hard situation or whether you are choosing to do the hard work of changing, reforming or leaving that situation.

And let's remember that just because something is hard, does not mean you're doing it wrong.

What hard thing do you know you need to do?

What feels hard about it?

What is hard if you don't do something about it?

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