Quitting

a-to-z HEADER [2017] - april

Sometimes the only, the best, thing to do is quit. I know – winners never quit and quitters never win. For too long the inner critic’s accusation kept me locked in the myth that it there is no circumstance in which quitting is justifiable. I’d look around and it seemed like everyone was cruising through difficult times and there I was feeling like how good would it be to just stop struggling to be, to do, to have, to become.

Quitting had never been an option or part of my coping skills because however tough things became, whatever the consequences, they were easier to deal with than the guilt I felt having given up (read failed). Besides, if everyone around me could do this then so could I, damn it!

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It wasn’t even on bad days I had those thoughts. The good days were filled with trepidation and the what-ifs of possible failure, and having to quit rather than complete the task. But you know what? There are a number of circumstances in which it is more than reasonable to quit and I have given myself permission to quit, give up, and cease the struggle.

More importantly than actually allowing myself to give up is the acknowledgement that the self-imposed guilt serves no purpose other than to keep one subjugated to a faulty set of expectations imposed during childhood. Society tells us to never quit. We have to push through no matter how difficult.

I have come to disagree with Thomas Edison who said that “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” Another platitude I have come to loath: “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.” Perhaps there is a time and place for such clichés but they don’t belong in my inventory. They keep us locked into the failure and guilt of having given up

Here’s my list of circumstances of when it is okay to quit, I am sure more will present themselves:

  1. Friendships that literally suck the life out you. You know the ones; you’re always there for them and they’re deaf when you need a sympathetic ear.
  2. When health and peace of mind is compromised. There is only so much of ourselves we can pour into others before our health and mental wellbeing are affected. After all stress wreaks havoc with mind and body. Quit before it gets to that point. Whatever it is, a job, project, even a leisure activity. We have to know when and how to take care of ourselves, part of that is knowing when to quit.
  3. Our circumstances change, as do our interests. So if you want to become a basketball player it is probably a good idea to quit learning to play the drums and focus on an area about which you are more passionate. Changing direction is not quitting, it is an indication of one’s insight and self-awareness.
  4. When things don’t feel right.
  5. When the goal posts are frequently moved.
  6. It started out as an exciting project, activity, whatever and now you feel like a prisoner of the task. Not good, it’s time to reassess our initial commitment and ask whether our enthusiasm still matches the goal.
  7. You are frustrated. You’ve given it your best shot to fix the brokenness and realise there is no solution and you feel certain things will not change regardless of your best efforts.
  8. You’ve met the challenge yet it is still not enough. It is time to walk away because it will never be enough.
  9. You’ve gone above and beyond yet the task requires more time, effort and energy than you have to give it.
  10. When your boundaries have been crossed.

Quitting isn’t a curse. In fact quitting can be incredibly liberating. It can relieve stress and restore mental and emotional wellbeing. And sometimes quitting is simply choosing to do something different.

How do you decide when enough is enough and I wonder how you feel about quitting something?

Participating in 2017 April A – Z Challenge which you can read about here.

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17 thoughts on “Quitting

  1. How do you decide when enough is enough and I wonder how you feel about quitting something? I think you said it all up where you listed the reasons for wanting to quit something. If it’s not enhancing your life and is in fact, causing that life to be less than beautiful, it’s worth quitting. Quitting doesn’t always mean ‘giving up’ does it? Sometimes the thing we’re doing is causing us physical or psychological harm and those are a waste of time, therefore worthy of quitting. But it’s not easy, is it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree sometimes quitting is not about giving up it is about deciding that whatever it is is no longer a healthy choice for us whether it is emotional, mental, spiritual. In fact in those circumstances I feel quitting is the strong and healthy choice – it is about choosing our well being over something we feel obliged to do/complete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes quitting is absolutely the best course of action you can take. Plus, if you don’t quit the thing that’s not working to try the new thing, you will never know how successful you could have been at the new thing! So, some of those expressions you listed are actually double-edged swords. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great insight on the appropriateness of quitting in some situations. And I can relate to the guilt. Me giving myself “permission” to give up on a book I’m not enjoying is a fairly recent development. (A book! It sounds kind of silly.) Before, I would just slog through the book, because one can’t stop reading a story once it’s started. But, you know what? I don’t have enough time to waste it on stories I’m not enjoying. The guilt is still there, a little bit. But mostly I feel relieved to abandon a book I’m not enjoying.

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  4. Sometimes I quit things too easily. I have to remind myself to keep going and have some resilience. However I do agree with you that there ARE times when quitting is the appropriate action – I agree with all your points above. My quitting is more often related to lack of confidence in myself and I need to be reminded (or remind myself) that I am capable and to stick at it a bit longer!

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  5. Thought provoking post, Linda. I absolutely think you’re right too, we have been conditioned that “quitting” somehow equates to failure or just not trying hard enough. But I think that attitude stems from a flawed basis that the thing we are pursuing is right or appropriate for us. In reality, we’re only human and we don’t always go after the right things. I see no harm in giving up, particularly when it starts to have a negative impact on health and mental wellbeing. Wonderful post, really enjoyed it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe it’s because I’m feeling my age, or maybe I need a holiday but rather than grit my teeth and keep going against the odds the cleverer options seems to shrug it off and walk away. I think it is good to reflect on one’s relationships from time to time and have a bit of a spring clean …

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