For most of my life, this has been my guiding mantra. Like a knight in a medieval battle, I charged ahead in all my endeavors while wearing my armor of determination and unbounded optimism.
This attitude has certainly served me in many ways. It helped me accomplish great feats in specific areas of my life. I would not have got the healthy and fit body that I’ve always wanted or graduate from a challenging masters program or meet some of my biggest idols without being resilient.
Yet this “never quit” philosophy was a real double-edged sword because it also made me hang on to unhealthy relationships and doomed projects much longer than necessary. I took on the burden of trying to make things work and fought hard to keep things going because quitting was not an option for me.
It was not until I was completely battle-worn that I realized how much I had allowed myself to get hurt and all the precious time I had lost in the process. I was eventually able to make peace with the past by appreciating the lessons that I learned from those experiences.
I share this personal piece of information with you to illustrate the positive and negative manifestations of a “never quit” personal ethic. It is also these experiences that led me to re-frame the idea of quitting and see it as a possible winning strategy.
After all, not every job, relationship or friendship will be right for us. We need the insight and knowledge to know which ones to pursue and which ones to quit on so that we can use our time and energy to focus on what truly fulfills us.
What holds many of us back from doing this is our false association between quitting and failing. This common association can either prevent us from taking risks or make us stay in situations that aren’t right for us because we don’t want to be seen as a failure.
If we can reprogram our minds to see quitting as a quality control mechanism that helps us find the best options for our life, we will begin to feel more at ease with letting go of things. It will no longer affect our identity, self-worth, and make us feel like a failure.
We need to adopt the same kind of light-heartedness as a person trying on different clothes in a fitting room. The reason why we find this process easier (and sometimes fun) is because of our low attachment to the clothing items that we feel aren’t a good fit for us.
Letting go of people and circumstances that aren’t right for us is much harder because of our strong attachments to them. This is understandable, especially if we have put in blood, sweat and tears while attempting to make things work.
The only way to loosen the grip that our attachments have on us is by dealing with the emotional element in the situation. This does not mean that we should suppress our emotions – but rather use them as guideposts to serve our decision-making process.
Once we are able to eliminate the mental fog created by our unsettled feelings from unhealthy attachments, it will be easier for us to be practical about the situation. At this stage, we have the objectivity and foresight to decide whether quitting is the most appropriate strategy.
Here are 5 common signs that quitting might be the best way to go:
- It never felt right: We have all been gifted with a sense of intuition that gives us a form of intelligence that logic cannot pickup on. Whenever you struggle to achieve something that is not for your highest good, you’ll have a sense of being out of integrity or alignment with your true path. This is why it’s important to take the time to tune into your inner wisdom through mediation and quiet contemplation, on a regular basis.
- The challenges are a struggle: Anything that’s worthwhile pursuing will have its fair share of challenges but there is a big difference between the challenges that are worthwhile and the ones that aren’t, based on how we feel. Challenges in situations that serve us will invigorate us. The ones that don’t will feel like an uphill battle.
- You feel drained and out of balance: Because of the mind-body connection, our body is sensitive to anything that occurs on the mental plane. When we are out of balance, our body will send us distress signals in the form of aches, pains and sometimes even serious illnesses. I highly recommend Caroline Myss’s book, “Anatomy of the Spirit”, to learn more on how our body ailments are connected to our life lessons.
- You feel like you’re being taken advantage of: The unfortunate truth is that there are plenty of people out there who would not mind taking advantage of situations if they are allowed to. If you find yourself in a situation where this is the case, you need to let the other person know how you feel. If they don’t co-operate, be willing to walk away.
- Your friends and family are expressing their concern about you: If your loved ones, who have your best interests at heart, keep expressing their concern about your situation, perhaps it’s worth listening to what they have to say. They might be picking up on your blind spots and be able to offer you a clearer perspective, based on the reality of the situation.
No matter how you see it, letting go of anything that is close to our heart is never easy. Yet I have always found solace whenever I saw the ending of something significant as the end of one of the many chapters in my life.
And that’s my suggestion to you. Be willing to turn the page over so that you can begin writing the next chapter of your life, which will be filled with exciting new characters and circumstances that will continue to help you evolve into the fullest expression of yourself.
All my best on your journey,
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