Why is giving up, sometimes, a good idea?

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    The common saying goes, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win,” but here’s why mental health specialists feel it’s time to alter that. For decades, the notion of goal achievement has fueled the self-help business. Personal development books want you to think that giving up is a sin, motivational presentations extol the qualities of persistence in the face of adversity, and film biopics celebrate individuals who persevere when the odds are stacked against them.

    In this context, it is simple to conclude that pursuing a goal, even if it takes a heavy toll on your mental framework, is an act of bravery, but giving up is the easy way out for those of lesser courage.

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    However, if you’ve ever noticed that pursuing a goal or habit is negatively impacting your emotional well-being, it’s time to reassess your dedication to it—whether it’s a failing relationship or a rigorous fitness regimen that leaves you miserable with yourself rather than energised. Here’s why experts say it’s healthy to step away from objectives every now and then, and how to do it when it’s time to call it quits.

    Goal disengagement: Why is it okay to abandon your goals?

    Giving up may not be valued culturally, but it may be an effective technique for preventing mental discomfort, according to Aanchal Narang, a Mumbai-based psychologist. Goal disengagement, or the capacity to recognise when to cease putting in effort toward a preset goal, provides additional indicators.

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    Look around your acquaintance group and you’re bound to discover a handful who left a technical sector, such as engineering or medicine, to follow a lifetime passion of becoming a designer, singer, or chef.

    Why is giving up, sometimes, a good idea?

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    “It is fascinating to notice that certain people are more prone to exercise goal disengagement (giving up) than others, and this arises from self-awareness combined with a solid support system,” Narang says. A strong sense of self helps you identify what you want to achieve, and a strong socioeconomic support system can assist you in making the transition.

    Those who have unresolved trauma and poor self-esteem, on the other hand, may not be able or willing to withdraw. In a culture that encourages people-pleasing behaviour patterns, goal disengagement (giving up) becomes more difficult and is frequently regarded as rebellion.”

    Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei, an Ontario-based holistic counsellor, agrees, believing that our generation’s increased emphasis on perseverance might be attributed to the hustle culture. “We have learned to closely identify our notion of self with our ambitions, and as a result, we feel like failures if we withdraw from those goals or realise that something else really fits and feels better,” she continues.

    Though there is a lot of pressure to perform and complete a work once it has begun, it is extremely freeing and powerful to disconnect from something when it is damaging your mental or emotional welfare.”

    If…, you should be giving up on your aim

    The aim is unattainable:

    “When a goal is too imprecise or difficult to manage, we tend to set unreasonable timetables and expectations for ourselves.” At each stage, one must review and re-analyze if pursuing a specific aim is still viable or giving up.”

    You don’t know who you are without this objective:

    When you get so hardwired to a certain goal that the notion of that goal has taken over your entire identity, it’s time for a wake-up call—one thing cannot and should not define your entire existence. If you’re afraid of who you’ll be without this one objective, it’s a clue that you should accomplish other things in life so that this doesn’t continue to define you.

    This behaviour is no longer making you happy:

    “Habits that help rather than consume you should be established.” There’s no purpose in interacting with something that no longer makes you happy. “It’s a clear indicator that you should be giving up on it if it doesn’t make you genuinely happy and makes you feel like the goal is draining the soul out of you,” she says.

    Perseverance makes you despise yourself:

    “At the end of the day, if you’re unhappy with who you are or don’t feel at peace with yourself, there’s a good possibility you’ll spend the rest of your life running with blinders on, not understanding why or where you’re going to.” “If perseverance is making you hate yourself, it’s a sign that you need to be giving up and rethink your goals,” she adds.

    How to abandon a goal without negatively impacting your psyche

    Although slogans like “never give up” and “rest but don’t quit” are common in popular culture, experts feel that general motivating statements like these might be detrimental.

    “Sayings like these are poisonous because they do not encourage healthy decisions for us, but instead support popular ideas of success and make us feel that we must sacrifice ourselves at the altar of achievement,” Narang says. While society recognises not giving up as a heroic gesture, she feels the opposite is frequently true.

    “If the journey to the objective makes us unpleasant, we are typically drained and inwardly shattered by the time we arrive.” Finally, both the route and the goal leave us unfulfilled. “All we do is reinforce society’s conditioning with yet another example of the appearance of achievement,” she continues.

    Giving up might appear to be a difficult process, but it does not have to be. The Mumbai-based psychotherapist suggests assessing your reasons for quitting and asking yourself, “Is this impacting your mental, physical, and emotional health?” Are you quitting because you’re unhappy? Then you should give up.

    Why is giving up, sometimes, a good idea?

    You might also ask yourself what the worst-case scenario is and what you are afraid of. If any of the responses concerning how other people will react to your decision, she advises you to “stop and consider for yourself to discover what would offer you real satisfaction.”

    While it may be enticing to make short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term success, Moyer-Szemenyei feels there is no harm in determining whether a goal is genuinely helping you rather than pursuing a faraway fantasy. “Watch for typical stress indicators such as sleeplessness or difficulty sleeping, panic episodes, physical indications of worry, and dread of failure.”

    “When those things become the norm, it’s time to rethink your aim,” she warns. If you’re unsure when you should be giving up, she suggests gazing in the mirror and asking yourself if your goal is helping you and your emotional well-being. “If it’s the latter, allow yourself to take a step back and focus on something that makes you happy.”

    At the end of the day, Narang feels that it is important to remember that suffering personal misery in order to attain a certain objective is not always the road to pleasure. “As humans, we frequently have unreasonable expectations that everything will fall into place once we reach our goal.

    However, this is not always the case. We must guarantee that we have dreams in all parts of our lives so that we do not sacrifice the many dimensions of our lives and personalities,” she says.

    There are several types of giving up. However, the final one is the most dangerous. Please treat your life as if it were a valuable treasure. Trust us when we say that there are those who will always adore you, even on your worst days.

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