Here’s Why Being a Quitter Is Okay
Have you ever had enough of everything? Have you ever felt so frustrated, angry, depressed or overwhelmed that all you wanted to do was walk away from a person or situation and not give it another thought? Have you continued on anyway, only to find yourself feeling even more frustrated, angry, depressed or overwhelmed?
Now…let me ask you this:
Have you ever considered quitting?
Are you being held back because you were taught that being a quitter means you are a loser?
Today, I’m going to tell you why being a quitter is perfectly acceptable in this day and age. Really.
Being a quitter is okay!
You don’t have to quit forever and always. It can just be a temporary quit. Maybe the awareness that you have the option to quit is all you need to change your perspective a little bit. And…maybe you really do need to quit once and for all!
A Real-Life Example
The fact that I hated my whole first year of law school is no secret to those people close to me. This is despite many reasons I should have been utterly thrilled to be in law school:
I was the first one from my family to go to graduate school.
I went to what was then one of the top 10 law schools in the nation.
Many people would give their right arm to be one of “The Fighting Irish.”
I met some of my best friends while I was in law school.
Reasons I Hated It
I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for how demanding and rigorous the first year of law school would be. I had no clue that my professors would teach me using the Socratic Method and consequently, as an introvert who also happens to be a perfectionist, I lived in constant terror that my professors would “call on me” in class and that I would make a fool out of myself.
I was a desert rat who had never been east of New Mexico. Every day during the South Bend winters, I froze my patootie off. I missed the sun. I literally walked a mile to and from school in several feet of snow on slippery ice during my three years of hard time in law school.
I missed my mom. And my dad. And my brothers. And my friends.
I felt lonely. I felt afraid. And stupid. And cold. And miserable.
Did I mention I hated it?
How I Dealt With It
At least a two times a week, I spent a couple of hours sobbing on the phone to my mother about all of this. I felt better while I was on the phone letting it all out. As soon as we hung up though, I felt like crap again.
I’m sure it killed my mom to hear her “baby girl” so distraught all the time. I can’t imagine how powerless she must’ve felt not to be able to do anything to “fix” my problems. I’m also certain she got tired of hearing the same broken record play over and over again.
One day during one of my meltdowns, she told me something revolutionary:
Mom: You know…you could quit.
Me: Come again?
Mom: You can quit if you want. Me and dad won’t be upset. If you hate it so much, you could just quit and come home.
Me: Um… What? Really?
Mom: Yes. You are here on this earth to be happy. If you aren’t happy doing what you are doing, then quit. Come home.
Me: <still thinking>
Me: <finally> I don’t want to quit. I want to be a lawyer.
Mom: Okay. Well…I just want you to know that you can if that’s what you want. We wouldn’t think you’re a failure. You would still be a success to us. You would still be fine.
Me: I’m not quitting.
And That Was the Turning Point
With that brief dialogue, my whole perspective about law school changed. My attitude improved. I felt more positive about my future at the University of Notre Dame.
My desire become a lawyer had instantly been strengthened and reaffirmed.
For me, there was power in the awareness that I had a choice about what to do with my life. Up until that point, I had never realized how much power I would feel by knowing that I could quit and that being a quitter was okay. I always thought being a quitter meant a person was a loser.
Not only that, but after that conversation with my mother, I realized putting up and shutting up would serve me well. It was not going to help my situation to continue to cry if I had the power to change things. If I made the decision to stay in law school, then the wisest thing would be to make the most of the situation, rather than going down that road kicking and screaming.
Let’s Apply This to Your Life
Why do you sometimes feel depressed overwhelmed, angry, resentful, and hurt?
Methinks it’s because you are fighting something about your current life’s circumstances. You want something to be other than it is.
And why are you doing that?
Methinks it’s because you are afraid.
For me…I was afraid of not being the “best” in my class. I was afraid of flunking out. I was afraid of being dumb. I was afraid of not passing the bar someday because I was dumb. I was afraid of never finding a job because I didn’t pass the bar. I was afraid of letting go of my mom and dad. I was afraid of never feeling the sun shine on my face again.
I was afraid I would never stop feeling so lost.
The good news is that I did stop feeling lost. I was able to do that when I took back my own power. I found the strength I needed to graduate law school and pass the bar AND get a job. It happened when I finally realized my life wasn’t controlling me and that I was creating my life.
You are creating your life, too.
How will you do it? Will you go down kicking and screaming? Or…will you find a way to make peace with your current situation or change it so you can be happy?
Sometimes, being a quitter is OK. Recognize the power in it. Give yourself permission to do it if your life calls for it.
Sending you my wishes for a week in which you quit if that’s what you need to do.
All my best,
P.S. Share your story about quitting something and why it really was the best thing for you.