Moving On Versus Giving up?

A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.  Our lexicon of language is full of axioms extolling the virtues of fighting until the end. 

Indeed, the last marriage vow most utter is, “until death do we part.”  And there is merit to the idea that nothing comes easy, and that anything worth having is worth fighting for.  And if these expressions aren’t enough we can find more messages on facebook.  In the last hour I viewed, “Some quit due to slow progress.  Never grasping the fact that… slow progress is progress”.  And, “If you feel like quitting, think about why you started”.  I can go on with variations of this same sentiment.  But now I am going to utilize a different axiom that could open a door.  “There is an exception to every rule”.

So what is the exception or dare I say exceptions that allow one to quit without the negative connotation or stigma of it being quitting or giving up?  Or to put it in a more new agey way: when is it okay to let go and move on?

The short answer is, whenever the bleep you want to!  What is important, from an evolutionary or spiritual perspective, is that you are operating out of a space of authenticity.  This applies as much to the pursuit of a goal as it does to the leaving behind of one.

Continuing to borrow from cliché’s, not many of us get to have our cake and eat it too.  Life involves choices and sacrifices.  Moving in one direction puts us on a course away from another.  And within our chosen path there are still more choices, more obstacles, and more things that can go right and not so right.

Along the journey and in pursuit of our goals events occur within and beyond our control.  There are circumstances that we could not have foreseen.  People come and go.  Relationships come and go or change form.  “Acts of God” can make the day or wreak havoc in our lives.  As a result, your perspective may grow, change or evolve.  This is a good thing.

For example, a judge renders a decision based on all of the available evidence.   You are the advocate of your life and principles.  You are allowed to consider new evidence as it comes in.  New evidence can either confirm a previous decision, or if you are open to it, lead you in a new direction.

Side note… in debates over social issues of the day, as it suits them, both the political left and right question whether our founding fathers would have reached the same conclusions in forming the constitution had they known then what we know now…Well, you know things today (and more meaningfully, experienced things) that you may not have known or could have known yesterday, let alone whenever you started on the path you are on.

By moving on or in a different direction are you quitting or failing?  I’ll keep it real.  Maybe.  If you can’t accept that, than you can’t accept a part of life.  And that may be more damaging to your psyche, relationships and spirit, than any goal you do not accomplish.  This is worth exploring, not ignoring.

There is another state of mind to observe, where we see a stubborn, single-minded, dogged pursuit, regardless of the sacrifice, “win” at all costs mentality, and how it intrudes on other areas of life:  Addiction.  Except here we place a negative value judgment on it as opposed to the courage we ascribe to it in other circumstances.  But there are similarities.

Gambling is one example of addiction.  Many have lost fortunes because they couldn’t and wouldn’t let go.  Because they never stopped believing that they could turn it around, and were in denial about the trajectory they were on.

Worse yet, addiction can pervade and interfere with the ability to maximize and get the most out of other areas of life and relationships.  I’m not calling you an addict or saying there isn’t value to persistence.  I am asking you to look at addiction and then look at your behaviors in relation to your pursuit(s).  Are there any similarities as you weigh a potential crossroads in your life?  Let this sink in and think about it before you answer.

One thing I do not want to do is confuse results with success.  They are not one and the same.  There is truth in “the journey is the destination”… The point here is: it is about you figuring out what you want, and what is best for you.  This may involve counteracting the effects of socialization that have you holding on to something you might be ready to let go of.

Working against you is possibly the feeling of shame or guilt or whatever else you feel as a result of societal, well intended but in some cases misguided, conditioning that says you can never give up.  Which is also to say you can never move on.  The unspoken implication is you are sentenced to a life of struggle, burdensome odds and potential heartache because of a choice you may have made years ago.

If we are truly open to the wonders of the journey we will be open to its divergent paths as they present themselves.  And when one comes before us, and when we wish to get off a train, that in our hearts may be headed for a cement wall, that is not quitting, it is enlightened common sense.

This blog will not tell you whether to move on or stick with a particular set of circumstances or goals in your life.  I don’t know you or all of the variables you have to consider.  But if you are not sure, or rely on, “don’t give up”, mantra’s that you robotically repeat, while ignoring the rest of your insides, than I would suggest meditation, and or talking with a trusted friend or therapist.

Be open to possibilities, and to what you authentically want to do.  Be open, excepting of yourself, and give yourself permission to move in the direction that is best for you in the now.  If it is something new?  Great.  If it is what you have currently been doing?  That is great too.  Perhaps this reflective break will invigorate you and inspire new ideas on how to pursue what you’re doing, and to be more content with or without the results you seek.

My best wishes in whatever you decide as you journey forward.  Namaste.

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One thought on “Moving On Versus Giving up?

  1. Jeff, I love that you encourage us to look deeper. On the surface it always can appear one way or another,…but it is when we give ourselves room for this exploration that life moves… or moves on! 😉

    Thanks for a great article that makes us think!

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