Updated: Mar 19
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One of the limiting beliefs that has ruled almost my entire life, is that walking away is a sign of weakness. To this moment, I can still hear a voice in my head saying: ''Don't quit. Stay. Quitting is what weak people do when they can't handle the pressure any more. Show them that you're strong. Show them that you can do this. Show them that you can stay until the end''.
I have to say, that I do agree with all of that, but only under specific circumstances. If you have a good enough reason for doing what you're doing, then yes. Keep going. Don't quit just because things are getting hard.
Walking away is a possibility
But if the road that you're walking, is showing you that that's not the path that you want to walk, then be mindful about that and take some time to listen to what your heart is saying to you. Take a minute to reflect on why you're feeling the way you're feeling, and allow yourself to consider walking away a possibility.
I have this belief engrained in my head, that tells me that quitting is for weak people. And this belief, is the one that has ruled my life, every time that I've decided to stay and continue doing something that I wasn't comfortable doing.
My only reason wasn't good enough
I studied 6 years of engineering to get a professional degree, and the only reason why I completed my education, was because I had already started, and I believed that quitting would make me weak. I'm a disciplined person and I work hard, and because of that, I was able to graduate.
But did I enjoy learning about what I was learning? No. I enjoyed my lifestyle during my university years, and I enjoyed spending time with the friends that I made. But was I interested in what I was learning? No.
I'll tell you what I did like though. I liked getting good grades and sharing that with my family. I liked the feeling of achievement after succeeding at something that was hard. And it was this feeling, together with the fear of not wanting to be a failure in the eyes of the people around me, that kept me going. I didn't care about any of the things that I was learning. I cared about achieving something. And I thought, that because it was hard, it was worth it. But it wasn't, because something being hard doesn't make it worth it.
Are you interested?
When something that you're truly interested in is hard, then accomplishing it feels much more rewarding. But when something that you don't care about is hard, and you still push through it for no good reason other than the fear of being seen as a failure, then nothing good comes out of it.
So why am I telling you this? I'm telling you this because during my entire career, I knew deep in my heart that I didn't care about what I was learning. I didn't enjoy learning about it, but I felt a sense of responsibility to continue learning, because I had already started. I couldn't quit. I couldn't stop to re-think things. In my eyes, that wasn't even an option. I didn't even consider the possibility of doing so, because I felt that it would be like a sin or something.
That feeling never left me
Today, more than 10 years after I started my engineering career, I can tell you that the lack of interest is more overwhelming than ever. That feeling, has never left me.
And, I wouldn't consider myself a lier. But recently, I discovered that for 10 years, I've been a complete lier. And I not only have lied to the people around me, but I've lied to myself. And the thing with lies, is that once you start, if you keep going, the momentum of the lies takes over. All of a sudden it's too late. One lie leads to the next, and on and on it goes, until the lie has taken over your entire life.
I fooled myself and everyone else
I fooled myself into believing that I liked my career. And then I fooled myself into believing that I liked my first job, until I couldn't take it anymore, and I left to specialise my education in a field that I could maybe fall in love with. And no, I didn't choose what I started studying next, because I couldn't afford to select my education. I earned a scholarship for a specific program, and I just went for it in the hopes of actually liking it. I thought: ''Why not? maybe I could like this. Why not give it a try?''. So I went for it. And I liked small bites of it, but to be honest, I didn't love it.
I had already started
So you know what I did? I kept going. I kept going because I had already started, and quitting wasn't an option. I thought, ''Maybe I'll like it. Maybe one day the effort will pay off, and I'll finally start enjoying''. But again, that didn't happen. So what I did, was that I held on to the experience of going to a European University, and making new friends while living abroad. I held on to other things that gave me strength while continuing my education until it was over. Because I couldn't quit. In my head, that wasn't an option. And it was also not an option even talking about it. I was too ashamed of being that person for which things weren't working out.
This is the first time in 10 years
So here I am, letting all of this out while I have tears running down my cheeks. But don't be sad, because the good news is that, these are somewhat happy years. In 10 years, this is the first time that I allow myself to be this person who feels this way. Today, I'm not lying to myself anymore. And whether the path ahead will be easy or hard, that's not the most important question to answer. The most important thing to me, right now, is that the truth is out in the open, and it feels good. It feels good being honest with myself.
Allow it to yourself
So today, I invite you to stop lying to yourself. Whatever it is that you're struggling to admit, allow yourself to at least write it down on a piece of paper. It's not over until it's over. We still have time. We can still make things right. We can still turn things around.
Quitting is harder than staying
Quitting doesn't make you weak. In fact, for some people, myself included, quitting is an act of bravery. And you know why? Because for me, it's way easier to stay in the game so that nobody judges me, than it is to leave it. I know how to stay. I've done that. And for me, that's easier. But it's only easier in the moment of making the decision of staying or leaving. Because once you made the choice to stay, acting like somebody else so that you can maintain that lie, is indeed not easy. In fact, it's very hard and not worth it at all.
So in that case, quitting and having to face the possibility of all your fears materialising themselves, can be nerve wracking. And it is for me. But here I am, being honest about it and feeling proud of myself for choosing to face those fears, instead of choosing an easy road made of lies.