“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen
Growing up, I refused to go to bed until I fit the last piece of my jigsaw puzzle. That’s when I first understood that it could be difficult to give up, but I didn’t think my perseverance was a problem.
Soon after, however, I realized that blind persistence could turn into an exhausting and useless quest.
When something unjust happened to me or to someone I loved, I worked relentlessly to “make things right.” In many occasions, my attempts to fix a negative situation would only make matters worse.
I wasted time and effort trying to stay in touch with people from high school and college who had no interest in keeping the friendship.
I held jobs where I wasn’t happy, making myself physically and emotionally ill.
Later, my persistence led me to three years of futile effort to save my troubled marriage. Living in pain through these three precious years taught me, among many things, that sometimes it’s imperative to give up.
You might be experiencing a situation that isn’t working and wondering whether you should persevere a little longer. You might wonder whether more time will allow you to fix the problem or reach the goal. After all, people always say, “Never give up.”
How do you know when it’s time to give up? Here are five signs that might help you decide.
Your quest to solve a problem takes over all other aspects of your life.
If you feel that you’re not enjoying life to the fullest because you can’t stop thinking about your situation, it might be time to reconsider the reasons you continue trying.
I became so overwhelmed by my desire to improve my marriage that I stopped focusing on my friends, family, and career. Don’t let this happen to you.
Working toward a worthwhile goal should be elating and exciting. Lack of excitement about achieving what you think you want probably means that you’ve become used to striving and never arriving. It’s “what you do,” and this routine doesn’t serve you.
Also, you may be justifying a painful situation in the name of psychological comfort. Fear of the unknown or of upsetting other people could be the true driver of your efforts because perceived safety and popularity are comforting.
What would your life be like if you stopped trying? Notice the first feeling that arrives when you ask this question. A feeling of freedom or exhilaration is a sign you are ready to give up.
You aren’t able to visualize a positive outcome.
If you continue working to achieve a goal and yet, it seems like an impossible dream to be successful, you’ll sabotage your own efforts.
In a quiet place, contemplate the realization of your goal in detail. Can you clearly picture the resolution of your problem? Can you see yourself succeeding and feeling good about your success? If not, it‘s a good idea to reassess your commitment to the goal.
When I dreamed about a fairytale ending to my marriage issues, my inner voice would often tell me there was a very small chance I would succeed.
However, my rational mind would kick in, and I would find new reasons to keep trying. This process of rationalization would eventually make me feel even worse about the possible outcome.
You start to feel poorly about yourself.
Not being able to achieve your goal might result in self-doubt about your abilities. You might wonder whether there is something wrong with you.
In most cases, a job, relationship, or project that hurts your self-worth isn’t worth it.
You’re the only person who shows interest in solving the problem or reaching the goal, but the outcome also depends on other people.
This is particularly relevant in relationships.
If you are the only person who initiates contact with a friend or the only one who takes action to improve a relationship, it’s unlikely that the relationship will thrive or even survive.
Letting go of relationships in which you’re the only person invested will produce temporary pain, but once you’ve overcome the negative emotions, you’ll be able to welcome loving and uplifting people into your life.
When you wake up in the morning, your first thought is to give up.
You’re most attuned to your intuition when you first open your eyes after a night of rest, and your intuition always knows what is in your best interest.
The emotional pain I experienced when I chose to silence my inner voice wasn’t needed or worth it. Trust that your intuition is guiding you to the places you’re meant to go, the career you’re meant to have, and the people you’re meant to meet.
Making the decision to give up might not be easy, but will open the door to fulfilling and joyful life experiences. Letting go will set you on a path of learning, growth, and expansion!
Tired man image via Shutterstock