“Quitters Never Prosper.”
Personally, I for one beg to differ. If there’s one of many things that I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with, it’s that quitting doesn’t mean giving up. But now that I’ve finally come to terms with it, I understand that quitting is an imperative part of life and growing up. Without it, that is, without the option of pushing a bail button, we risk finding ourselves trapped and paralyzed in lives that we don’t want or ones that are damaging to us deep down at our cores. In turn, we limit ourselves from the growth that comes from pushing ourselves outside of our boundaries and comfort zones, letting go of what’s in front of us and moving forward.
Throughout the entirety of your life you will be faced with decisions to quit, or to keep on keeping on. Some call these forks in the road. I just call it par for the course, everyday life. While there are certainly points throughout your life that it’s wise to remain on course, and keep focused and headstrong in whatever circumstance you find yourself in, whether to glean as much as you can, give as much as you’ve got, or perhaps because there are other lives at stake, there are times where one’s sanity, heart, and entire being have grown weak and are in shambles from the beating they’ve been taking. It’s in these times it’s not only okay to quit and walk away to allow yourself time for healing, a breakthrough or an entire life turn, it’s a vital part of the process.
Yes, feeling as though you’re starting over is a feeling that resonates deep in the pit of your stomach, especially when you’ve grown so accustomed to where you’ve been. But when you look at the alternative—being able to live with where you are at—the idea of “starting over” suddenly isn’t as scary as feeling trapped in a life that doesn’t fit you, or align with your passion, your values, your ideas. A life that is no longer yours. Or a life that was perhaps never yours to begin with.
Although it tends to feel like it at the time, quitting doesn’t equate with failure. It’s something I have to remind myself every day when said feelings of defeat creep in. I do believe these feelings are natural and it’s important to take a step back and not only acknowledge them, but accept them, feel their full weight and digest them—one at a time.
Maybe we are all failures in that, we have and will continue to fail at succeeding in places we find ourselves that don’t quite fit us, because there is something more out there. There is a place, a relationship, a job, a calling, a community, a natural habitat, or simply a way of life that fits us better than what we are experiencing now. This isn’t to say we should discount where we are and let an attitude of gratitude turn to entitlement, or that we should disassociate from everything that represents our present. However, this is to say that wherever we are should align with our hearts and ultimately should be somewhere we are actively choosing to be. Not somewhere we’ve passively stumbled into with little say in the matter.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like an inactive player sitting on the sidelines watching others dictate your life because you—and only you—have allowed it to be this way.
The following quote by Robert Tew has been resonating loud and clear in my head lately.
“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
Easier said than done, right?
The good news is, the more you quit, the easier it becomes to walk away from things that have no place in your life anymore—persons, places and ideas that no longer serve the purpose they once did.
It’s only natural this happens. But when it’s something, or someone, you’ve been fighting for, for any number of years, it’s hard not to let pride and stubbornness get in the way, and overshadow your own self-respect.
“But I’ve wanted this for so long,” you might tell yourself. “If I just hold on and wait a little longer, things will shift. They will work out.”
It’s far too easy to get wrapped up and jaded by what’s in front of us and try to make the best of something, that we begin to idealize it as something that it’s not, and never will be. And the longer we stay put, wherever it is, the harder it gets to get up and go again.
Truthfully, it’s far too easy to talk ourselves out of quitting in almost every aspect of our lives, be it because we are scared of the backlash, scared of others’ perceptions, scared of letting our family down, scared of losing what we’ve invested, scared to let go of those who mean the most to us, or scared we don’t have what it takes to pick ourselves up and try again.
While this certainly rings true on the job front, I would venture to say that this extends equally if not more to relationships. The thought of moving on with your life without someone else in it is a sinking feeling and can be heartbreaking, especially when it comes to those who have been a part of your life for multiple chapters. But the truth of the matter is, just because a friend, or romantic partner has played countless roles in your life in the past, doesn’t mean they belong in your future, or even your present. Even if you’ve been more than convinced they do, at some point it’s simply not your decision to make. It’s theirs. And sometimes there’s not a single thing you can do to change it.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but until there is a magic potion that makes someone actively choose you to be a part of their life, as much as you have chosen them to be part of yours, all you can do is grab a glass of water, choke it down and walk away from the battle.
Earlier this year, a wise sage warned me that if I was willing to finally quit and walk away from all the things I felt were holding my heart hostage, so to be able to truly move forward with my life into a land of uncertainty, and if I was willing to walk the walk alone to find greater meaning and fruitfulness, I would be broken. I was assured that it would be worth it, but that I had better brace myself to be beaten and humbled like I could never imagine possible. I had to be willing to let my life unravel. I had to be willing to give up everything that wasn’t moving me forward to make room for something better. Then I had to be willing to pick up the broken pieces of my life, and begin to put them together in a new arrangement.
“There is no knowledge won without sacrifice. In order to gain anything you must lose everything.”
You were right Buddha.
It’s okay to quit. It’s time to lose.