It’s safe to say our culture is squeamish about “quitting”. Most of us don’t even feel comfortable saying the word! We’ve attached a lot of negative meaning to “quitting”- failure, disappointment, weakness, inadequacy, imperfection (to name a few). I think it’s time to reclaim “quitting” as a power move. Quitting is an important piece of a happy, fulfilling life.
James and I prefer to take it easy on NYE. It’s one of our favorite times to turn inward and reflect- a hard thing to do amidst crowds and confetti. So, we opted to kick off our night of reflection with an evening yoga class. Our instructor began class by having each of us share one thing we want to leave behind in 2015. In other words, “what do you want/need to quit?” Defining something in your life that isn’t contributing to your wellbeing and saying it out loud to a room full of strangers is a scary, powerful thing. It also felt like the highest gesture of self-respect.
Why is it hard to quit?
We worry about what other people will think. I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. She points out that we are all experts at “hustling for worthiness”, meaning sometimes we stay in things just to hang on to someone else’s approval, to avoid their disapproval, or to keep them comfortable. Don’t sell your happiness for other peoples’ head pats.
We over-identify with the things we do. We often dangerously attach our identity and self-worth to being a… runner/doctor/fashionista/perfectionist/hostess-with-the-mostest (fill in the blank). We wonder, if I stop running marathons or if I quit my high-powered job, then who am I? You are still you… and you are an even you-er version of yourself when you quit the shit that’s counterproductive.
We believe that quitting is a mark against our character. Not many of us view being called a “quitter” as a compliment. That list of words from above (failure, disappointment, weakness, inadequacy, imperfection) start to creep in. I think we’ve got it all wrong. There is certainly a time to persevere, but there is also a time to quit. I persevered through the unhappiness of organic chemistry to become a dietitian, but I also quit business school to become a dietitian.
why you should quit anyway
Not quitting will eat away at you. Muscling your way through things that are working against your happiness will deteriorate your soul. It will take from you until there’s nothing left. Don’t let the hard parts about quitting (see above) keep you from happiness.
Quitting is a powerful act of self-love. Clearly defining the things in your life that aren’t serving you, and then taking action to get rid of them is a courageous act of caring for yourself. Essentially, you are saying, “I’m important. I deserve happiness.”
Quitting makes space for starting. Quitting doesn’t have to be all about the big, bad relationship/job/habit that needs to go. It can be all about starting. I’m guessing you are already pretty overbooked, so if you want to add, you have to subtract. When you quit, you make space for new beginnings. That new beginning might be why you need to quit something else. For example, you might already know we quit TV several years ago- not because TV was making us unhappy (although…), but because we wanted to start reading more.
So, what do you need to quit? Facebook? Working on the weekends? Comparing? Negative self-talk? Gossip? Doritos? (hey, if you quit Doritos, you clear space for kale!) This week, we challenge you to quit something. Feel free to drop us a line and share what you’re ditching.
We’re quitting “imbalance”, “busy”, “overcommitment”, and unintentional social media scrolling.