When it comes to “giving up” the first thing I think is, it’s a quitters phrase. I was raised, like many of us were, are, or will be, thinking that quitting is BAD. It’s a societal thing. Quitting is frowned upon.
When I think of giving up I initially think of defeat. Someone beaten down who can no longer muster the courage to stand back up. It’s a melancholy state of being. But then… I have to think a little more.
Giving up. Is it ALWAYS bad? Is giving up cowardly? Is giving up weakness? After the initial thoughts fade I consider some of the following:
Giving up cigarettes, booze or other chemicals that have garnered too much control in our lives. Giving up on relationships that are, one-sided, controlling, abusive. Giving up on a job that is a sad compromise at best. Giving up on habits like overeating, gambling, and watching porn that can be pretty destructive. Giving up on trying to accumulate things instead of living abundantly.
All of these require courage, commitment to an ideal, a plan, support and time. The outcome for any of these give ups will likely be a more fulfilling and pleasant life which isn’t a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I think if we could see the good outcome in advance, clearly, we would be less inclined to have fear around giving up.
I think one of the biggest problems is when we allow others perceptions of us shape how we think, act and feel. If we worry how people will think of us if we give up, we will likely never be free of that trouble.
Others perceptions play a huge role when one has to admit to being an alcoholic or long-term drug user. It’s scary to out the skeletons from the closet of a lifetime of living with an abusive partner. No one wants to be considered an addict. It’s hard to admit when the job one has worked a lifetime to keep has really been a source of pain and displeasure. We all end up wanting to save face.
My struggle is beer. I am not an alcoholic, but beer plays a pretty significant role in many of my social situations. I like to brew beer. I think I’m pretty good at it. I have MANY friends with whom I associate around beer. They are great people. Love all of them. I worry though, if I make the decision to “give up” beer, we may not have anything to talk about and they may find me to be a bore, or a prude or a teetotaler, yet… when I don’t drink beer, I feel better, physically and mentally. It’s right there, I am ultimately worried about what they will think about me. And maybe, it doesn’t matter. If they are truly my friends, they will understand.
Giving up… maybe it’s ok.