I’m all about follow through.  Keeping your promises. Do what you say you will do. See things through to the end. All that stuff.  But like with most everything, too much of a good thing can be too much.  Life is not about absolutes and one size rarely fits all and sometimes not even some.  Yes, we’re taught “Quitters never win and winners never quit” but that’s not actually true and not necessarily a motto to live by.  Sometimes quitting is the best course of action to take.

Lots of people suffer from having stayed too long in a relationship or a job, having stuck it out through some commitment that ended up making no sense and pretty much benefiting just one person at the expense of everyone else.  Or going through with something to the bitter that stopped making sense about 1/4 of the way in.  I’m one of those.  I get stubborn and sacrifice myself for the end goal time and again, then wonder why my life gets hard and my body gets banged up. LOL  Quitting isn’t failure any more than sticking it out is success.  Life isn’t that simple.  There was a time in my life when I was struggling with my own healing of sexual abuse issues and with completing a degree while working full-time.  I had enough energy for two of these things, but not three.  I had to make a choice of where my energies were best spent and in the end I chose me, which meant that the job stayed and the degree went.  My instructors were horrified as I was 1/2 of a class shy of graduation, but there was no way I was going to be able to deal with my healing and working and still focus on class and the following certification for employment. So I firmly, at times stridently, expressed my need to withdraw, did withdraw, then later, when the timing was right for me, went back and completed things and entered into my career field and got work.  Quitting was exactly what I needed to do and helped me go farther and be more fully myself than sticking it out would have.

It doesn’t matter who we have committed to, what we have agreed to do, or how close we are to completion, if the process is doing damage rather than helping us become, if the activity is now the problem, if the commitments have become a weight which is dragging us under and we’re on the verge of drowning, then something needs to change. Sometimes the point of the escalating issues is to teach us about quitting.  Quitting, to the over commiter, is an outrageous act of courage and revolution.  It’s the turning point of the hero’s journey and the terrifying moment of release after a lifetime of incarceration. It’s that walk into the unknown that can be as terrifying as it is liberating.  But if we aren’t able to quit, then it isn’t really commitment at all, is it?  The word commitment implies choice.  It implies free will.  If we don’t have the choice to end it, then it’s not a commitment, it’s a trap and voluntarily or not we are stuck in it.

There is virtue in sticking to something all the way through and also in knowing when to quit and move on. The trick is to know which virtue to apply.