Quitting vs. Letting Go

Release!
Release! (Photo credit: Destinys Agent)

To the uninformed, these may appear to be the same thing. After all, they both require the release of something. Both create a void. And both originate from choice. Although on the surface quitting and letting go appear to be twins, the motivating substance behind the facades is quite different.

Quitting is born from fear or frustration. The latter tends to result in micro-quits; short periods where we give up and walk away only to return once sanity is again restored. Macro-quits, those life changing, never going to back decisions, are usually propelled by fear. You quit when you are afraid of what will happen when you proceed. Sometimes this is wise. Your fear may be telling you that the path is too treacherous and it is safer to turn back. However, fear is a sly companion. It is the taxi driver capitalizing on your ignorance to lead you astray. Fear will lie to you and tell you that you are in mortal danger when, in fact, you are perfectly safe. When you quit, you are listening to that fear and believing its stories. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed that you chose to throw in the towel. You may get defensive, throwing up walls and justifying your decision. When we quit out of fear, we often feel unfinished. Unsatisfied. Unsettled. When you let fear be your chauffeur, your destination will not be the one you intended.

Letting go happens when you face your fear. It is that moment when your fear is telling you to grip tight and you choose to release. Letting go is born of acceptance, an understanding that you cannot control all of the outcomes. Letting go gives a sense of peace. Of weightlessness. Quitting is easy. Letting go is not. It is conscious, deliberate act that may take years or decades. It requires patience and compassion. Give yourself that gift and be the driver of your own life.

 

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19 thoughts on “Quitting vs. Letting Go

  1. Yes…. that is what I have done and am doing: letting go. Now on my own but it’s still very early in the process and I’m finding I need daily reminders that I also must let go of the hopes I had that my EX will now be the compassionate friend he could never be while we were together. Ain’t going to happen.

  2. Thanks, needed that talk, started a new job and felt like running away after two weeks. Realize before it was too late that it was fear. After Duane left I haven’t had the capacity to make decisions anymore. Do I like this or that? Who am I? I am having a real hard time letting go. I need to find out if I am quitting or letting go things in my life. Will take your words to heart.

  3. Thank you for this. Everyone has night demons. If you are going to own the night you have make choices instead of having them made for you which is what fear does…

  4. Lisa, I think what you say here about the differences in motivation is very insightful. But I’m not so sure that how you feel about a decision is a reliable indicator about your motivation. For example, you may “quit”, but have a great sense of relief about it because you feel you have escaped the source of your fear. You haven’t, because the fear is actually within you, and it may come back to bite you later, but in the moment of decision you may feel wonderful. It’s only later that the dissonance sets in, and you feel compelled to justify your decision and explain away all of those unsettled feelings that won’t go away.

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