Giving Up - Are You Taking Too Much On?

In a society that currently tells us we must always carry on, no matter whether we feel burned out, unhappy or unsuited to a task, I explore whether it's sometimes better to drop things and give up.

Giving Up - Are You Taking Too Much On?

What is giving up? Take a moment to consider your own impression of that phrase. Most people jump to the negative conclusion: our society has created a stigma around giving up which does not reflect both sides of the story. The dictionary defines it as “ceasing to make an effort”, and we should try and understand this as a potentially positive force. There is nothing here that carries unfavourable connotations: so why do we view it as unacceptable? 

The media constantly feeds us the unrealistic expectation that you should always follow your dreams, no matter what, and that giving up prevents you from achieving success. Even those around us push the idea that stopping something is terrible, irrespective of the reason. Hence, giving up has become automatically associated with failure, a sense of defeat, and this easily develops into a situation where you are made to feel useless. But sometimes giving up can be for good reason, whether it’s because you have too much on your plate, or simply because you need to prioritise your own wellbeing. By saying "yes" and continuing one thing, you are saying "no" to something else: the opportunity to begin a new hobby, to spend more time with friends, or vital hours at home to take care of yourself. Giving up provides you with the opportunity to begin something which you actually enjoy.

In my opinion, it is too often that people continue to do something they hate for the wrong reasons. Just because they said they would, or because they fear change. Although you should respect commitments that you've made, sometimes you have to put your happiness first. It takes strength to quit something you don't like, especially in a culture where giving up is so widely condemned and seen as weak. In a world where we are so 'goal-orientated', it often feels as though, once a target is set, we must reach it. It's important to remember that it’s your life and you don't have to prove yourself to others: trust your own judgement on what is best for you. At risk of sounding like a cliché, closing one door opens another, and new experiences may arise from freeing up your time. Aspirations change, and to quit a long held ambition in favour of a more recent dream can be a good thing; as we grow up, we must continually re-evaluate our plans.

Having said this, please remember that maintaining dedication in certain aspects of your life is important. In periods of diminished motivation, try and look beyond the immediate gratification, and remember the reasons why you started something. If you keep putting effort in, more often than not you will be rewarded by improved results, and hopefully renewed interest.

Ultimately, if you know your own mind and do what you enjoy, you will be guided to the right thing, whether this be pushing through or giving up.


Olivia Marken

Olivia Marken

Trying (and barely succeeding) to be a writer, musician and seamstress, but definitely defying the expectations of people. Do what YOU want, not what others want.

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