“You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.” ~Nina Simone
In my short life, I have left many jobs or situations. Some might call this “quitting.” Why has quitting gotten a bad rap?
Spiritual teachers and wise people often advise letting go of situations that are no longer right for you. It doesn't seem like we've gotten this message. I don't think quitting is such a bad word.
I quit my job just recently. And I feel great. Other things that I have chosen to leave: multiple jobs, a few relationships, and one PhD program (more on that later).
Most people equate quitting to giving up. They think, “Oh, you just don't feel like working anymore. Oh, you didn't try hard enough.” This sort of thinking is what convinces people to stay in situations that are not serving them, not allowing them to be their best, or worse, hurting them (physically, emotionally, or spiritually).
The job that I recently decided to leave was having a damaging effect on my life. Even people who love me (bless their hearts) have told me to stay in my job.
It's easy to let outside sources sway your decisions. Friends and family mean well, but they are not the ones living your life. You need to do what's right for you. As I see it, it’s a strong decision to take a step that supports your health and well-being.
That's not to say there won't be consequences. I still need to pay my rent, buy food, and provide for my companion animals. It's all possible with a bit of planning.
I accepted that my current situation was hurting my health. And so I quit. These are the reasons I am proud to be a “quitter”:
1. I quit because I wanted to.
Yes, this is a legitimate reason. You are allowed to enjoy your life! Actually, I would encourage it.
If you're not enjoying your life (the everyday, mundane parts), then something needs to change. You don't always need an explanation. Following your heart is totally okay—you deserve it.
2. I am learning to be the best version of myself.
Life is constant change, and we are always growing (whether we admit it or not). I try to be intentional about this. Am I growing in the direction I want to?
This was a big reason I left a PhD program that I was enrolled in. The academic, competitive environment wasn't teaching me how to be a version of myself that I wanted to be. I left so that I could continue growing on my path to being a kind, generous person who lives according to my values.
3. Perseverance isn't everything.
I think perseverance is a trait that we tend to over-value. Sticking it out is great—if you still believe in the goal and enjoy the work.
It's expected that you won't enjoy every minute; it's called hard work for a reason. But sticking it out just for the sake of it? Not something I believe in.
If you're no longer engaged in your work, it's time for a change. You are not a failure. Plans change and that's okay.
4. It builds confidence.
When you stand up for what you believe in and make bold life choices, it increases your self-confidence. You learn to trust your own judgment and your ability to deal with difficult situations.
You don't always need to follow the crowd. As you learn to make decisions for yourself, you will become more and more confident in yourself. And after all, your life is for you.
5. Quitting creates space for something better.
Ah, the possibilities. I have been dreaming of starting my own businesses, working for myself, and living a more creative lifestyle for years. What was I waiting for?
It's easy to make excuses when you have a day job. I told myself that I didn’t have time to work on my “passion projects.” I decided to make my whole life a passion project and in order to do that, I needed to create space by clearing out what's not working. Goodbye, cubicle!
When you say “no” to something that’s not right for you, you are allowing yourself to say “yes” to the things that are.
I am proud of the times in my life that I have showed perseverance and gotten through something tough. But I think I am more proud of the times I have taken a leap.
I quit because I wanted better for myself, because I know I deserve it, and because I wanted to. I'm not advocating that everyone go out and quit their jobs today. But it's important to keep assessing your life and see if you want to continue choosing what you chose in the past.
It's okay to quit some things, or a lot of things, if you're like me. You deserve your dream life. Now go get it.
Man walking away image via Shutterstock