Burning Bridges

On the surface the saying “don’t burn your bridges behind you” makes sense. The idea is that at some point you may need to rely on someone who you may have otherwise, were it not for some potential future value, alienated for short term gain. Stay on good terms with the people in your network, keep those connections alive and in good standing. It’s about maintaining a certain view of yourself in the minds of others.

Yes, there’s practicality in that. It helps to have acquaintances that can help you out. But it can also lead to some very unhealthy attitudes. Going overboard with that idea means bending yourself to look, in the eyes of others, like someone you think they want to see. That’s a dangerous path to go down. It leads to being little more than a façade, a fake store front with nothing of value inside.

Better to be yourself. As long as you are kind and compassionate anyone who is alienated by your authenticity is probably someone you don’t want to have any dealings with anyway. I’d rather be rejected for who I am than accepted for being someone I’m not.

We need to burn bridges more often. We keep alive ideas of ourselves and who we should be that don’t align with who we actually are because we feel compelled to do so. Compelled by society, our jobs, our families, our friends. The bridges we keep out of a feeling of obligation that we don’t agree with are bad for us. They are tenuous and ultimately unfulfilling. We need to burn them.