A Self-Respecting Quitter

We’re told at an early age to persevere; that nobody likes a quitter. Quitting is giving up.

We’re excused from this, too, while we’re young, so as to see which activities we enjoy or don’t enjoy; in which we do or do not have talent or strengths. This is all a vital part of growth, as if we stick to what we are good at, we can help bring a team to victory and fulfill or excel in that activity in ways we didn’t see possible.

A libertine, I’ll try my hand at just about anything. From softball to soccer, gymnastics to dance, I finally found my niches in running and swimming. When I made it to college, I continued running and adopted yoga into my routine.

Curious and hungry for self-involvment, I was a “Yes” girl. My email address was on at least fifteen different email group lists. If college is supposed to be the time to find passion in something you’d never done before, I figured, “Why not give it a try?”

As the more spur-of-the-moment decisions slowly fizzled out of my schedule, I found solidity in two realms I hadn’t yet explored: sorority life and college radio. Details of moments, both joyous and negative, aside, I will never regret joining a Greek organization nor holding two executive positions in Radio. Disaffiliating and stepping down, however, were two necessary, difficult, and inevitable decisions.

Although resignation, quitting, and giving up seem like they could perform a melody of weakness, there is much strength.

It takes a great deal of honesty with one’s self to step away from something that isn’t enjoyable, but a great deal more to walk away from something that is. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year thus far, it’s that self-integrity is vital. How can we expect to be honest with others and expect others to trust us if we can’t even be honest with our own selves?

Looking introspectively, it’s imperative to be able to recognize what is most important to yourself. In every individual’s case, it’s their goals, and the steps necessary to attain those goals, even if it means cutting out things we enjoy.

Most importantly, things are temporary. Nothing is permanent. While you can enjoy them for a limited time, enjoy them while they last, but sooner or later, there are some things that must be cast aside.

It is our own choice to be happy, and to create own happiness. It is also up to our discretion if we feel as though we are or are not being respected. If we aren’t respected, yet still take an immense amount of bullshit, the likelihood of gaining respect by continuing to take bullshit becomes akin to scratching away at a brick wall with fingernails. Quite frankly, I’m really in no mood to fuck up my manicure.

That’s why stepping down or away from something, even if it’s something you’re passionate about or enjoy, takes a hell of a lot of guts. If it’s bringing you stress or pain (and no gain), leave it. It’s not avoidance behavior, it’s taking command of your priorities and demonstrating self-respect.

I can honestly say that while stepping down (and away) from one membership and one executive position were some of the harder decisions I have had to make, I have garnered more respect by redistributing myself as thick rather than spreading myself too thin.

Nobody would trust swinging on a rope that is one centimeter thick. Clearing obstructions from your path to your ultimate goals is a way of reinforcing that rope. Think about it: when you journal, and get every thought down on paper in front of you, they become tangible, your mind becomes clear, and you can step forward with a sure foot in the right direction.

If there is something standing in the way of your goals, push it aside. Step away. It’s not easier said than done, for all it takes is introspection into your own strengths, which comes with a great deal of self-respect.

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