What’s the difference between quitting and giving up?
For a long time I’ve confused the two, and thought they are the same thing.
To quit a job, to break up a relationship, to stop pursuing a dream or a friendship or a plan. What a horrible thing it is to bail. Or is it? Why do so many of us see quitting something as a failure on our part?
In my past (and that includes… yesterday), I’ve hung on to jobs, people, and beliefs too long because I perceived ending things as giving up on them and to give up is to not try hard enough and good people try hard no matter what and I want to be a good person.
What a load of shit.
If you’re already a good person who works hard and thinks things through, the following might apply to you too.
The difference between quitting and giving up is having the same amount of respect for yourself as you have for others and knowing when to let go.
If you’ve been struggling with a situation that hasn’t improved despite giving it your all, yet you can’t find it in yourself to walk away, here are some things to quit first.
QUIT PLEASING OTHERS
Alright, don’t be an asshole. But take stock of how much you value others’ happiness over your own. Are you worried about what your boss and peers would think if you quit your job? Are you preoccupied with how your girlfriend will feel if you break up with her? Are you anticipating a lecture from your family about how you should have a downpayment on a house by now? If you’re miserable, that matters just as much if not more. Don’t stick around and suffer to avoid displeasing others.
QUIT MAKING IT ABOUT YOU
Overachievers feel guilty if something doesn’t work out. If the pitch went shitty, they should have tried harder. If the relationship is always on the rocks, they should go into therapy. Stop it. Stop hogging all the responsibility. It’s not all about you not doing, being, or trying enough. Sometimes your job, friend, or partner sucks. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit.
I should stay until I’ve lined up something else. I should be grateful. I should take the money. I should be happy. I should help. I should wait. You should shut the fuck up and think about what you want. “Should” is a word your inner critic uses to pressure you with other people’s ideas.
I find the best way to do this is to walk through a graveyard. Ever want some perspective on how short life is? Go walk through a field of dead folks. The thought of my mortality is wonderful for scaring me out of inaction.
You don’t have enough time to be unhappy. Want to know if you should quit something? Know your needs, values, and goals, and come to see them as important. Communicate them with others, and give your pursuits your best shot. Still unhappy and not getting closer to what’s important? It’s not giving up.