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To Burn or Not to Burn Our Bridges

Posted Sep 16 2010 12:00am

Many of us have been in a situation where we wanted do like the old Johnny Paycheck song and say “Take this job and shove it, I aint working here no more”.

There was a time where one could do this without much concern about negative consequences however in today’s world of readily available information and communication burning bridges with employers could easily be career suicide.

Yes, it may feel good for a moment to lash out our your employer, venting of our emotions may feel like the best thing we could do at the moment, however in the light of day this burning of bridges can follow us like a black cloud.

Our ego wants to puff out are chest and take our frustrations out on whom we think is to blame for our discontent. Be it in the work place or in our personal relationships when we are discontented with our current situation our ego tends to want to point the finger of blame at someone or something and our ego wants that person or company to hear and feel our frustrations and therefore we make a choice to burn our bridges with words or actions that can never be retracted. The relationship be it professional or personal will never be the same and the welcome mat will be replaced with one that says “Go Away!”

I am amazed by people whom I respect and know to be intelligent beings who when their ego gets bruised tend to burn bridges that they can ill afford to burn. In today’s world the stench of the burning bridge can follow you for a long period of time.

It is important if we find ourselves in a place of discontent over our professional relationships or personal relationship that we first take responsibility for the state of our relationship. We are accountable for our own discontent. If things are so bad that we are at a point where we are driven by our ego and emotions to burn bridges then we have allowed ourselves to remain in the situation too long and therefore we must take responsibility for our situation.

When we take some responsibility for our situation and when we feel, think and act from our spirit rather than our ego we can then end a relationship on good terms and allow the bridges to remain in tact. This is important for one never knows when that bridge will be needed in the future.

There is another school of thought and that is there are times where we should burn our bridges. The explorer Hernando Cortes lead eleven ships to Mexico with the intent of exploring this new land. After his men had reached the shore, they looked back to find that all eleven ships were set on fire. The ships were set on fire at the order of Cortes. Cortes wanted his men to know that no matter what they might run into during the expedition of Mexico that there was no turning back. Cortes burned his “bridges” because he did not want an avenue of retreat. There may be times in our journey where burning a bridge may be a good thing to do because we want to continue forward and we don’t want to give our self the opportunity to retreat back over the bridge that we have already crossed.

If one does choose to burn a bridge it is important to know what side of the bridge you are on.  I have seen some who have burned bridges before they had the opportunity to cross them.

I would rather be an architect than an arsonist. We should be building bridges and our bridges should be built with love and compassion. We are all tethered together, the bridges we build make it easier to remember and experience our connection to each other.

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