The whole notion of giving up has largely been considered synonymous with failure.
We should never give up on jobs, relationships, or dreams. Ever. We should push through to the bitter end, no matter what. We should emerge victorious, successful, and strong. Only lazy, undisciplined, losers quit.
Or so we’ve been told.
I have to disagree wholeheartedly.
Giving up doesn’t always mean quitting.
The idea that giving up makes us quitters; makes us weak, lazy, or selfish, isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to anyone who has stayed too long in relationships, or jobs, and finally mustered the strength to leave.
There are things in our lives that we are meant to leave. Times when we know that staying any longer isn’t healthy. In this article on Tiny Buddha, the author makes a case for quitting. She explains those things about “sticking it out” that can actually be devastating for us. The one thing she mentioned that really resonated with me was that sometimes staying is actually hurting our self-worth.
We’ve all either been in, or known someone who has been in, a relationship (romantic or friendship) wherein someone else has made us feel badly about ourselves over time . This can happen with a career as well. There’s never a time when you’re going to emerge victorious from these scenarios. You are not a hero for staying in a toxic relationships or environment.
The peculiar pain of giving up on a dream.
This post, on Mind Body Green, beautifully explains how our dreams at times expire.
It can be painful to harbor a dream for years, sometimes decades of your life, only to pursue it and discover that it isn’t something you want permanently. It may have a season, and THAT IS OKAY.
Another painful part of giving up on a dream, is finally taking that leap, only to discover that it isn’t what you’d hoped it would be; that there is more to the story than you’d been aware of, other people are largely responsible for your ability to achieve that dream, or you aren’t as capable or as talented as you’d believed yourself to be.
You may find yourself wondering, “what now”? Who am I without this dream?
What’s important is that you made it to the point of discovering that it’s time for a new dream. Some people spend the entirety of their lives wondering “what if” but never actually try.
It can be scary to move on, to find out who you are again. It can be painful to look at yourself and feel as though you and your life are not at all what you thought they were.
There is a difference between quitting and letting go.
You know you’re quitting when things just get too hard, and you have to muscle it out and push harder, but in your heart you know it would have been worth it, but you just stopped.
Letting go, on the other hand, is releasing something (a relationship, a job, a dream) that no longer serves you.
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