Have you ever had a moment or maybe a whole season of life where you just wanted to quit? When life felt so hard or your circumstances so overwhelming that you were tempted to cut your losses and run? One of my favorite quotes is – It’s okay to want to quit, just don’t. This is something I’ve repeated to myself because I’ve been there before, feeling like I wanted to quit.
Quitting is a learned behavior.
What if I told you that quitting is a learned behavior? You weren’t born knowing how to quit, you saw someone quit or you were given permission to stop trying, and once the possibility of quitting was introduced into your life, it became an easy option. But before you learned that quitting was an option, there was no choice but to get up and keep on going.
For many years, I held some resentment towards my mother for caving to this attitude. I think she’s one of the most brilliant people on this planet. She has two master’s degrees, one in math and one in computer science, but all growing up, I watched her dumb herself down to fit in. To me, that feels like a form of quitting. I didn’t have the words for that as a little girl, but even as a child, I wanted so much more for her. Like many parents, my mom protected me by saying things like “it’s too hard” or “don’t bother” or “you’re not going to be able to do that, honey, it’s okay”. Can you relate to this? Were there words you heard as a child that gave you permission to quit?
So, what if I want to quit?
That painful moment when you’re questioning if it’s worth it, and you want to throw in the towel and quit is often the door to a whole new experience. And the key is you. It’s never about life. It’s never about external circumstance. It’s never the other person or the situation you’re in that’s causing your pain and suffering. It’s about what’s going on inside of you that needs to heal and grow and shift. It’s your emotional response to your circumstances that’s causing you pain.
Yes, there’s heartbreak. Yes, there’s pain. But your body often holds on to all these emotions and this is what causes suffering. When you quit on your ability to push through and figure things out, when you quit on how strong you really are – then everything suffers. Your relationship with yourselves, your relationship with others, your relationship with life in general suffers when your heart shuts down. What would it be like if more people kept their hearts open in the toughest times instead of shutting them down and disconnecting?
One of the worst things you can do is to quit on relationships. When you quit on a relationship with someone else, it mirrors how you’ve already quit on yourself. You would never quit on another person if you hadn’t already quit on yourself. Relationships can be repaired and healed, but you’ll never be able to repair a relationship with another person to an extent greater than how you’ve repaired the one with yourself. It always starts with you.
If you feel yourself getting triggered by any of this – that’s the gold! Don’t distract or numb yourself. Allow yourself to recognize your feelings, even if you don’t like them. You don’t have to welcome it. You don’t have to love it. Just simply allow, recognize, and track your triggers. It’s okay to want to quit, just don’t.