Having trouble leaving a crappy situation because you don’t want to be a quitter? I get it. We’re told our whole lives to follow-through, never give up, and a whole lot of other motivational mantras.
But here’s an idea: Let’s stop the name-calling and start getting real. Here are the four reasons why it’s totally fine to peace out when the going gets too tough.
1.You’re Not Wasting Your Time and Energy
Maybe you want to walk away from your abhorrent HR assistant job after three months and find something new, or leave that series of dreadful spin classes you registered for on a whim; don’t feel bad about it. Why dump years of your life into a job or hobby that isn’t positively serving you? Never regret leaving a negative situation that you feel isn’t contributing to your personal growth or well-being. Consider each endeavor a learning experience, and use that knowledge with intention to explore new avenues for fulfillment.
While it’s acceptable to quit an unsatisfying job, hobby, or relationship, do continue seeking healthy alternatives to close the gaps. There is a difference between quitting and giving up completely.
2. You’re Being Honest With Yourself
There are several reasons people stay in situations that aren’t good for them: guilt, money, time, responsibility to friends or loved ones, fear. While these feelings are valid, they are not reasons to keep doing something that makes you miserable. Using excuses to justify staying in a bad situation, whether they are well-intentioned or not, does a massive disservice to yourself and those around you. It’s easy to think you’re just being realistic when you say, “I have to stay at this job one whole year so I have the experience” or “My partner would be so disappointed if I stopped going to my running group every morning”.
Be honest with yourself and ask some questions: What have I learned from this experience? Is this experience helping me improve professionally or personally? Am I staying in this situation for myself or someone else? Are the reasons I’m staying in this situation logical, or are they my personal beliefs stemming from fear or guilt? Do I have access to a potentially better situation? Do I want to pursue a new path? Who am I really hurting or disappointing if I decide to try something new? Asking logical questions will provide the perspective needed to make a proactive decision.
3. You’re Still Exploring
Listen, it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s never too early or too late in your life to continue exploring new forms of fulfillment. Don’t buy into generalizations about your career, relationships, or hobbies. You aren’t stuck. Not everyone hates their jobs, relationships aren’t always miserable, and you don’t have to stick with every new thing you try. Collect kernels of wisdom from your past experiences and use them to your advantage. Approach new endeavors in an intelligent, organized way to avoid getting off track. Develop a system. Visualize where you’d like to be, set clear, realistic goals for getting there, and be intentional with your choices.
4. When You’re in the Right Place, You’ll Know It
You’ve probably heard someone say they “just knew” when something was right for them. Don’t worry if your friend found their dream job in a month, and you’ve been working for five years and haven’t found a role you like. Remember, everyone is different
Just keep in mind that even when you find “the thing,” you’re still going to have to work at it. Don’t disregard that rush of excitement and energy you get in your improv class just because you bombed a couple of times. Mastering something you love takes a ton of work. Be up for it.
Yes, contrary to everything you’ve ever learned—it’s OK to be a quitter. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
This article was originally published on Avelist. It has been edited and republished here with permission.
Photo of open door courtesy of Shutterstock.