The Gift of Giving Up


Sometimes you just have to give up and dance in the rain!

This summer was a busy one for me. It started out busy and it ended even busier. Family vacations, out of state friends, hiking, kayaking, dancing, drinking, eating, laughing- for 3 glorious months I was going, going, going. Now, as the warm weather takes a cold turn and the vacations come to an end, I realize I let several things slide from my normal routine. Watching what I ate was a “slide” area- cookies, candy, ice cream- if it looked good, I ate it (and lot of things looked good this summer). I lapsed heavily in the reading department- I picked up many books but I couldn’t seem to get past the 2nd chapter (I couldn’t even read illustrated novels!). Writing was yet another area where I failed in consistency. I tried in the beginning- I really did. Many attempts were made doodling randomly in a notepad or staring blankly at a computer screen. Most of these attempts ended with me throwing the notepad across the room or snapping the laptop shut in frustration. Quitter. The only word that danced around my otherwise empty brain. You’re a quitter.

That thought made me feel lousy, lazy and above all, guilty. Guilty because instead of going to the gym I ate frozen yogurt with my best friend in the sunshine. Guilty because I missed a day of work to play with my little cousins visiting from Wisconsin. Guilty because instead of writing in my blog I went kayaking on a crystal clear lake. Guilty because…because….why?

Why should I feel guilty when I got to experience all these fun things? And then it hit me! Maybe quitting isn’t always such a bad thing- what I gained is greater than what I gave up. Giving up can be a gift.

After reviewing the summer and the many experiences that came along with it, I can recall a couple things I gave up on and the positive reasons behind it. I share them with you now because I think they could be helpful, if not thought-provoking.

It’s ok to give up on that relationship. This transcends all relationship categories: family, friends and significant others. If the relationship is toxic or causing you emotional, mental or physical harm in anyway, it is ok to put it behind you. You might feel guilty for walking away from a relationship that you’ve invested heavily in. Don’t. Giving up could be the bravest and strongest thing you can do. There are other people in your life who value you and closing a chapter on one relationship can give you more time to focus on other relationships.

It’s ok to give up on that project. Just as Leonardo Da Vinci’s original design for a helicopter was never destined to fly, your project or creation might not be meant to reach full fruition either. Not every dream is realized, no matter how good the intention. It is even possible to find relief when you finally decide to be done with a frustrating project. Sometimes if you’re really lucky you will come away with better ideas for your next creative undertaking.

It’s ok to give on that perfect image of yourself. You will always see imperfections in yourself. Always. Even on your most beautiful day, there will be something you wished were different or better. We live in a culture that encourages a near impossible standard of beauty and you could run yourself ragged trying to live up to it. Embrace yourself for what and who you are and accept those flaws and blemishes. And remember that those imperfections contribute to a perfect uniqueness.

kayaking in the sunThere you have it. Some things I think are ok to give up on. You might not agree with me or you could have impartial feelings regarding the whole article. Or  you might look at giving up from a new perspective. Sometimes it can be a gift.


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