By Laura Lifshitz
One of the first things we tell our children is to “not give up!” So, we hold the same value for ourselves: giving up is a sign of weakness and persisting is a sign of strength and character.
Overall that is a true statement: Persisting and believing in our dreams and goals are positive ways to be! However, sometimes persisting on and on is actually a bad thing. Sometimes, giving up is a sign of strength and an acknowledgment that something you are doing or “persisting at” is not healthy or helpful for you. Throwing in the towel can require more strength sometimes, than to keep on the same path that you’ve been treading forever.
Giving Up Requires The Strength When You Know The Unraveling Won’t Be Easy
Maybe it’s getting a divorce. Maybe it’s leaving your job and finding something new. Maybe it’s cutting off a bad familial relationship. Whatever the case, sometimes giving up is harder and requires more mental strength simply because we know that while giving up the situation is best for us, it will be a tough path to get to where we need to be. For example, with divorce, we know the end result is best for us and our children, but just knowing how tough the process can be getting to that happy new place, is hard to face. So, when you are giving up on something that perhaps you once put a lot of effort and love into, like a marriage, remind yourself that you are not weak: giving up requires strength.
Giving Up Requires The Strength to Admit Truths and Hard Realities
Sitting down with yourself and admitting that a marriage or situation in your life is not good for you, whether it’s where you live, who you love or how you make a living, takes a lot of introspection and work. All the thinking and analyzing you’ve done to assess that a situation or person in your life is no longer a positive source for you is hard work. It takes a lot of guts to look in the mirror and say, “Do I like how this person or situation is making me feel?” Pat yourself on the back for being honest with yourself and taking the time to make a good choice to give up what is bad for you.
Giving Up Requires The Strength to Experience The Unknown
Have you ever heard the quote, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?”
Giving up means you are so, so so strong that you will face meeting the devil you don’t know because you realize that the devil you do know is causing you so much harm that it’s worth letting go and facing the unknown. The unknown is scary for so many of us, especially as we face big life changes like a divorce. So, if you’ve decided that you can’t live another day with someone or in a situation that no longer serves you, you are brave. Making those steps towards a new life or new way of being is incredibly brave!
Giving Up Requires The Strength it Takes for Self-Growth
When you finally realize that you need to make a plan to move on and “divorce yourself” from something or someone, you’ve already grown as a person. Self-growth takes introspection, awareness and strength. If you’ve grown so much as a person that you realize that you are not benefiting from something or someone in your life, that is tremendously courageous and brave. It means you’ve done a ton of self-learning and growth. Congrats to you!
Giving Up Requires The Strength to Acknowledge That Something That Was Once Good, Is Now Not Good
When you realize that something or someone that was once a very positive source of love or growth for you is not anymore, it takes a lot of strength. To honor the fact that something has changed in your life to make a once happy situation a not-so-happy-so happy situation now, means you have come to terms with closing the door on the past and opening another door to the future. Closing that door can be really hard and you may go back and forth on your decision before locking it up and closing it for good. This is normal. Sometimes we simply aren’t ready yet but when we are, we throw away the key for good.
Giving up is not always giving up, but “growing up.”
Giving up is not always giving up, but “growing up.” Growing up requires us to assess our lives and where we want to go and whom we want to be. If you have grown enough to realize that something belongs in the past rather than heading with you into the future, good for you!
The next time someone tells you you’re giving up when you know good and well you have put in the thought and time to make a healthy choice for you, just say: I’m not giving up—I’m growing up and out of this situation for the best. Like a tree or plant, I am growing towards the light.”
Happy growth, ladies!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.