When and Why Is It Okay to Give Up?

thomas edison quote

I like this Thomas Edison quote. I believe he was right too. Sometimes we’re so close to see a dream come true or a goal achieved, except it looks so far and hard that we give up without really knowing. On the other hand, I see so many people staying in a situation they don’t like just because they can’t give up… I’m not sure staying miserable is a way to success either.


So When and Why Is It Okay to Give Up?

You Made a Mistake

It happens. I remember how much I wanted to be a doctor as a little girl. I convinced myself it was meant for me. During high school, I engaged in science classes in order to pursue my dream into college. It turned out I didn’t like science. I didn’t like it all. It wasn’t because I failed test or classes, I just didn’t like it. I couldn’t imagine myself going through years of science to become a doctor. I just made a mistake about myself. I learned more about who I am. Did I give up? Yes, I gave up on the “dream” to become a doctor… only to realise there was something better out there for me.


The Dream is Right, but the Path is Wrong

Sometimes the mistake happens when choosing the wrong path to achieve something. How to know you’re on the wrong path? I think after a while everything feels wrong. It doesn’t feel like you. It happened to me at my previous job. I liked what I was doing but I didn’t feel I was at the right place to achieve myself in the long run. Dressing professionally and doing some PR at events was fun for a while but it began to feel fake. I was looking for something “truer” in my life. I realised I was in the communication and marketing field for good, but the path I was taking in that field didn’t fit me. As you probably know by now, I’m now a freelancer and work from home, which allows me a lot of freedom and flexibility. A good part of my job is writing, which is why I decided to go for a communications degree in the first place.


Unhealthy or Toxic Situations

I think the best example for this is staying in an unhealthy or toxic relationship just because, you know, I can’t give up on the person I love… Well, yes, you can. Your health and well-being is actually the BEST reason to give up on something. No dream nor success will be left once you completely lost your health due to a toxic situation.

Another example could be a person who goes too far into success, to the point it becomes an obsession. Many professional athletes face this unfortunate pressure. Some will train so much that it turns unhealthy; some will accept “help” in the form of drugs and others go through depression or burnout because it was just too much.

Give up before this happens or at least take a big pause to put yourself back on feet. No success is worth your physical or mental health.


Nothing’s Working

Mr. My Husband often says there’s no point swimming countercurrent. I would like to give credit to him, but he read that in a book I can’t recall. Sorry about that.

Anyways, what it means to me is that sometimes you just have to let go. It is a little different than giving up though. It’s a little like being on the wrong path too, except you have basically no control. In other words, stop swimming countercurrent and let that same current leads you to somewhere you don’t know yet. You might be surprised by the new solutions or ideas it may bring.

This happened to us very recently. It was not something very important, but it was still on my mind on a daily basis. I’m currently expecting our third child. The thing is we only have two kids’ bedrooms. We wanted to put the two boys together and the baby in the other room. It made sense but for some reason, all the options we were looking for the boys furniture were not working. Some were too expensive, some very complicated or not safe enough for their age and most required more space. At one point I thought: “We must be doing something wrong, we are not going the right direction”. I let it flow for a couple hours and it suddenly went all clear! I don’t even know why we didn’t think about it before. I will move my home office in one of the children’s bedrooms and the two boys will take the office, which turns out to be a much bigger room.


Final Words

To me, giving up is not always negative. Sometimes, it’s a positive and sound decision. Sometimes it is needed. In today’s society, performance and perfection is so important that we tend to force ourselves forward without even questioning why we’re moving forward… Most of the time, failure leads to something much better. That’s called learning.

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