Announcement: Wish you could change the past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

Why Strong, Brave People Aren’t Afraid to Quit

Every End Is a New Beginning

“Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong—sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

Throughout my life I’ve quit many things.

I quit a reasonably ‘sexy’ job title and steady paycheck.

I quit a six-year relationship with an essentially giving and loving person.

I quit being a yoga teacher after investing heavily in getting qualified.

I’ve quit many courses halfway through like calligraphy (of all things), ‘life design map’ courses, and online courses for all sorts of random things.

I quit therapy once, before they told me we were ‘done.’

I’ve quit several crappy part-time jobs when I first started building my business.

Yep, I’m a quitter. Or at least, that’s the label I gave myself.

You see, for many years I was the queen of being mean to myself. She can still pipe up on some days, but I used to be so continually nasty to myself, it was exhausting.

“You never finish anything.”

“You just don’t have what it takes to go the distance.”

“You’re so pathetic, Nat.”

“Why can’t you just see things through? What the hell is wrong with you?”

The other day a client told me she had these same questions (which are really just nasty taunting statements) going around in her head, as she felt guilty for giving up on something that she’d known for a long time she didn’t want to continue.

“I feel like a quitter, Nat. Won’t walking away mean that I’m just quitting?”

And so we began to talk about the meaning of quitting.

What does it actually mean anyway?

To me, to quit means to leave, usually permanently, or to be rid of something, right? I mean, that’s what the dictionary definition tells us.

But what if all the times we labeled ourselves as quitters were actually times when we were following our very finely tuned but so often ignored gut instinct?

What if quitting was just a term we’ve become used to hearing from the people around us, from our parents, from anyone else that might have reminded us where we “should have stuck things out,” but holds absolutely no truth in relevance to the situation we supposedly decided to quit?

I mean, let’s take the end of my six-year relationship for instance, which some, including my ex, might view as me having ‘quit.’ Do the years prior to that, where I struggled with myself over what was working and what wasn’t, and where I held on and tried to keep things together for both of us, not count as me working hard to keep going?

If I casually had just walked out without a reason, that would have been quitting, but I didn’t; I stayed and fought for as long as I could, and I made a decision that I felt at the time was right for both of our long-term happiness.

And then maybe you could also say I quit being a yoga teacher, or at least my mum might have been worrying about that at the time. “But what about all that money you spent traveling over there and taking the course?”

And I could understand her worry, but I reached a point when I had to be honest with myself.

I had been putting pressure on myself to be a perfect and shiny and accomplished yoga teacher even though the entire reason I had gone on the training was to heal myself and my spine, tap into who I really was, figure out what I really wanted from life, and deepen my practice. It was never to be a teacher.

So yes, maybe I quit yoga teaching, but again, what I was actually doing was being true to myself.

And I want to encourage you to do the same.

Drop the struggle you might currently be experiencing with the quitter label. It’s never going to serve you, and you know it’s not who you really are.

If you know deep down that something doesn’t feel right—if you know you’re not meant to be with the person you’re with, in the job you’re in, or doing the work you’re doing—then walking away from it does not make you a quitter, my beautiful friend.

It makes you empowered.

It means you have guts.

It means you are strong enough and tuned-in enough to listen to yourself.

It means you’re following your intuition.

It means you know your time and energy is best spent doing something else.

It means you know you’re on the wrong path and you’re brave enough to take action to change direction.

It means you’re brave.

It means you’re strong.

And it means you’re taking responsibility of your happiness.

Does it mean you will quit everything in your life?

No, it most certainly does not. When you find what’s right, you’ll know, believe me.

But turning over several stones to find the one that shines instead of settling for the safety of the first thing you find is a journey few are prepared to walk.

So with that in mind, you’re pretty amazing for having chosen to be true to who you really are.

Finding what lights you up doesn’t come overnight; maybe for some it does, but for most, it requires a few more stones to be unturned.

So don’t be afraid to keep moving, don’t be afraid to throw in the towel, don’t be afraid to ‘quit.’ It means you’re taking decisive action around what you will and won’t stand for, what feels good and what doesn’t, and most importantly, what feels true for you and what just quite simply doesn’t.

We can’t live our most expressive, fulfilled, and empowered life trying to labor away at something that doesn’t light us up from the inside out, so stop wasting time trying to, and don’t be scared to do something different.

Every end is a new beginning image via Shutterstock

Profile photo of Natalie Edwards

About Natalie Edwards

Natalie Edwards is a writer and speaker focusing on love, relationships and masculine and feminine energy. She inspires others to tap into their truth and learn how to authentically connect with one another. Find out more about Natalie on her website.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
Announcement: Tired of feeling stuck? Learn to let go of the past and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Every end is absolutely a new beginning as it always gives us an opportunity to put in practice our learning from the previous experience. Also life is a series of experience that we collect from new beginnings and new achievement. Each new assignment helps us to grow. If we are not growing, we’re dying.

    Nice post Natalie. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lena Hong

    Absolutely agree, Natalie! I know of many who grumble and complain about work and relationships, but never do anything about it. On the surface, it would seem they are resilient and determined, but perhaps some are just afraid to move out of their comfort zone. I was one of those, and it had to take a lot of planning or just pure guts to quit. Although things become very uncertain moving out of the comfort zone, what it has taught me is not to fear uncertainty. And I think I have grown a lot more knowing when to quit. And how to handle what comments others, including family, might have. Thanks for the lovely encouraging article, and for sharing your personal journey.

  • I love how you brought to light that a situation can have many perspectives. Sometimes we attached to the negative, other times the positive. It truly is all about connecting to what’s important for us. And listening to that gut instinct.

    I’ve found journaling helps me to tune in to not only my intuition, but also my “inner taunter.” I found that she’s just a scared part of me with really poor communication skills. If I allow her her to feel heard and safe, I find following the path of my intuition to be a smoother process.

  • James Griffin

    Thanks so very much to the writer, Natalie Edwards. This is exactly what I needed to see. So therapeutic and helpful. And… The truth!!

  • Avid quitter here – truth be told I AM usually afraid to quit. I’m just MORE afraid of being paralyzed by fear and stuck in situations that take me away from joy.

    I love what you’ve written – so many folks have just been told to finish what they start and to never quit. After all, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”

    Heck with that. The “devil you know” is still the devil, so I’d rather change partners and hope for an angel the next time, scary as it may be.

  • LesAnonymes

    I quit my career, after getting a 2nd degree for it. I’m now on a better path, although some days I feel really sorry for myself.

  • Paul Corcoran

    “If you know deep down that something doesn’t feel right…”, …then maybe it’s this:

    “Who they think they are is a needy person whose needs are not being met. This basic misperception creates dysfunction in all their relationships. They believe they have nothing to give and that the world and other people are withholding from them what they need. If the thought of lack –whether it is money, recognition, love – has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack.

    “Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. The fact is: Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world. You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small and that you have nothing to give.”

    – Eckhart Tolle

  • lv2terp

    Great post! I love your perspective that have on “quitting”, truly a wonderful message!!! I love the list of positives, and your summary at the end! Beautifully worded and wonderful outlook!! Thank you for much for sharing your insight! 🙂 LOVE!

  • R

    This was exactly what I needed to hear right now. I have taken a career break to try and find out what it is that makes my heart sing. People think that I am crazy as I don’t have a solid plan. However I ado know that I am going to Bali and then I am off to India in April to do a Yoga Teacher Training course )but I don’t want to be a teacher). I want to heal myself and learn something new. I am petrified but at the same time extremely excited to see what resides at the other end!

  • Doug

    Beautiful post. I don’t consider myself a “quitter”. However, I have “moved through” a lot of different things in my life- different job and volunteer opportunities, artistic pursuits, online interests, etc. The main thing is to stay connected to yourself, know who you are, and who you aren’t, and be honest about it. It’s also important to understand that you may not be in the wrong place. It may be that it was just what you needed at the time, but you outgrew it. But don’t ever label yourself a “quitter”. Life is huge. Don’t be afraid to explore new things or different paths. Just be true to yourself.

  • rt

    Great article Natalie and very powerful. I’m leaving a marriage of 28 years after realizing that my life matters. That I don’t have to continue staying in a marriage living for my husband’s happiness and life. I’ve had many tell me that I will suffer having to start again at 55 and that I should reconsider because of the financial support I have. But to continue to stay in a marriage where I have already given away 28 years of my life would mean giving my life away again and that is never going to happen again. When you realize your happiness and life counts, you own your choices no one else does.

  • Mattducz

    Sometimes it’s best to walk away, despite having lost so much (time, energy, you name it). The only other option is to continue on a path you really don’t want to be on, right? Then you just end up wasting more of your life chasing something you don’t really even want in the first place.

  • Hi Mattducz, I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes it’s best to just cut any losses, or even reframe any frustration around time we’ve ‘lost’ and see the next step as a new beginning. Thanks for commenting and sharing. x

  • rt thank you for commenting and sharing and I just want to honour you here for having such incredible courage to listen to your heart and do what’s right for YOU. Many never have this courage and live out a life that feels like a lie. You’re an inspiration lighting the path for others to do the same. x

  • Couldn’t agree more Doug. Thank you for sharing. That’s why I wanted to write this piece because I had very meanly labelled myself as a quitter for many years so I wanted to encourage others to ensure they didn’t fall into the same trap. As you so beautifully say, life is about being true to yourself and dropping any guilt around living that way. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and it’s so great to hear that you are living your truth. x

  • R, huge congratulations on creating this sacred space for yourself! I believe the places where we learn the most can also be the most terrifying! Best of luck and do keep in touch with how everything is going for you! Sending love x

  • Iv2terp thank you for commenting beautiful and I’m so thrilled to hear this resonated for you so deeply xx

  • Thank you for sharing your insight Paul – I am a huge Eckhart Tolle fan also! x

  • I’m so glad to hear you’re on a more empowered path beautiful. Keep following your heart and what’s important to you. x

  • Nicole thank you for this wonderful perspective. It’s so important to find the path of least resistance and as you say, seek the joy in things, as that’s where we find our flow. Thank you for sharing. x

  • James thank YOU for commenting. I am a huge fan of speaking the truth 😉 How else can we live our greatest life, right? So glad this was timely for you. x

  • Christine thank you for sharing and this is such a beautiful perspective. The inner critic is there for a reason and I love that you’ve found a way to allow her to be heard and to feel safe. Acknowledging this part of ourselves is so key, then we’re able to move forward on what’s really true for us. Keep listening and acting from that place x

  • Thank you for sharing here Lena and you’re so welcome – I’m glad this resonated! I also know a lot of people in this space, but the way I have come to see things is that if there is ANYthing or any situation in life where we are in struggle, it means we’re either not asking for the support we need or we’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s about stepping back and finding the ease. I’m so thrilled to hear you’ve allowed yourself to find this ease AND learnt how to handle comments on taking that path. With love courageous one! x

  • So glad you enjoyed it Bharat and I couldn’t agree more about the fact that if we’re not learning and growing and taking ourselves out of our comfort zone then we’re dying. It’s powerful for some to hear but very true. Keep growing, keep learning. Aho! x

  • Paul Corcoran

    It seemed to resonate with readers on the Facebook comment thread attached to the article.

  • sandra

    Natalie, I love you so much!! This is exactly what I needed.

  • sandra

    Doug, you are an awesome individual. I didn’t realize how many smart, amazing people there are out there. Like you.

  • rt

    Thank you Natalie for your kind and inspirational words. I thank people like yourself who write articles to help us believe anything is possible when we follow our heart. xo

  • Hi Sandra! I’m so glad this resonated for you lovely! Keep shining x

  • Aissatou Sunjata

    This was a really, really great one. copied and saved in my journal for the future.

  • So glad this resonated Aissatou! x

  • Tuipulotu koi

    Thank you Natalie for the inspiring story, and rt thanks for that story it is so similar to the story of my life. With that i have the courage to move on with no more stopping and thinking who will agree and who won’t thank you again.

  • Tuipulotu thank you for leaving such a beautiful comment. As you say, we never need to fear what opinions others might have of us following our path, we just need to go for it and never be afraid to make changes. I’m wishing you all the best. x