I have always associated giving up with personal failure. If I couldn’t do something, see a project through to completion for example, I had messed up, I had failed. Seemingly, it wasn’t only me that felt like this. I had constantly seen a barrage of supposedly inspirational quotes on Pinterest and Posters on classroom walls that stated things like “The only failure is giving up” and “Winners never quit.” For a long time, I believed this to be completely true. That any reasoning for throwing in the towel could never be justified, that by doing so I was admitting my own inadequacy which was something that was never very easy for me to do.
But after this last month and a lot of introspective reflection I’ve realized that this ideology that I, and many around me, uphold is completely ridiculous.
Giving up shouldn’t always be seen as a mark of inability, but a reflection of your own ability to know what you’re capable of and what you can handle.
I’m not saying that at the first sign of frustration you should abandon ship, nor am I saying that you can take on commitments and feel no remorse for not following through. Perseverance is great, as well as admirable; however, if something is to the detriment of your physical and mental health, or if a task is completely out of your realm of capability, it’s completely justifiable to take a step back. People often glorify and romanticize this concept of putting your blood, sweat and tears into something. Overexerting yourself is not always rewarding. Prioritizing yourself and your health is incredibly important and if a project is to your detriment it is completely okay to let go. Compromising your self for a commitment can stagnate your own self-evolution a lot more than admitting your own defeat.
Next time you give up on something you struggled to pursue, try not to see this as a failure or a loss. It takes true courage to admit that you cannot do something, to own up to the fact that even though you did want something that it may not have been in your best interest. It means that you’re aware enough of your self and your health, aware enough to know that something just isn’t for you anymore.
I’m not saying to shy away from all the obstacles that life puts in your way, but to be able to admit when the hurdle is too great. To understand that it’s okay to take a step back and reassess. Maybe after needed reflection, you can try again or maybe in this retreat you will find that there is a different path that will lead you to where you need to be.