Quitting = failure, disloyalty, disappointment
Is that how you feel about quitting?
I’m not even sure where it came from for me. I don’t remember anyone saying it specifically, but somewhere along the way that notion made it into my brain, and I’ve carried it with me into multiple aspects of my life — both big and small. Relationships, jobs, hobbies. I’ve felt guilty — and I’m not kidding about this — to the craft of crochet because I stopped crocheting and got more into knitting. As if crocheting is mourning my absence. Books are the same; an unfinished one taunts me for my lack of loyalty.
It’s ludicrous when I write it down. And yet, I feel it just the same.
The problem with this mentality, on a broad scale, is that it means I must experience guilt about everything I let go of, whether it serves me or not, whether I disappoint people are not. Sure, sometimes when I quit things, I cause inconvenience, even pain, to someone else. But sometimes there’s no harm to anyone, only benefit to me (aka, greater enjoyment from knitting). Yet I still experience guilt.
If I were able to separate out those times where quitting means, Yes! Making more space for good things with no harm to anyone else! and those times where quitting means, This is best for me but might cause pain or inconvenience to others, then I could focus my energies accordingly.
Why waste time beating myself up for a choice that brings me joy and harms no one?
I could talk about discipline and stick-to-it-iveness and the learning that comes from “hanging in there.” But I can’t hold onto everything; neither can you.
And hanging onto something that’s not serving me almost always means that I’m closing off options for something that might be just what I need.
Though the guilt and shame I have around quitting haven’t gone away, I’m learning to work through them, to turn away when I need to.
This is my last post as a regular contributor to Scoutie Girl, and as much as I’ve love writing here, I’m excited to say goodbye. Quitting here means opening more space, time, and energy for the fiction writing practice I’m cultivating.
Saying, no, not any more, to one thing always means saying, yes to something else. Sometimes it means yes to a nap, or an extra hour on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it means yes to a whole new joy.