So many people have been raised to believe that to quit is a sign of failure. We are taught that we should finish what we start. If you made the bed, then you have to lie in it. While this philosophy can serve us well at times, it is important to recognize when it may not be in our best interests to persevere at all costs.
But how do you know when it’s finally time to quit that job that you hate, to get out of an unsatisfactory relationship, or to tell the kids that you cannot live with the endless conflict and they’ll have to move out? People usually know that the time has come long before they actually do anything about it.
When you find yourself saying, “I Just can’t take this anymore,” you need to really listen to what you are saying. But sometimes people echo this refrain for years, without ever doing anything to change or to leave the situation that is distressing to them. Generally they do this because it is a very difficult situation to change, or because it is too scary to consider alternatives. It is easier to stay with a difficult known, than an uncertain unknown.
But when that knowing that you just cannot take it anymore comes up from deep within your soul, it is your own cry for help. Certainly you may feel immobilized by the fear of not finding another job, of being alone, of being judged, or of feeling guilty, or feeling like a failure because you gave up. And if this fear is blocking your route to freeing yourself from an intolerable situation, then you need assistance.
This may be in the form of a supportive friend or colleague, a support group, or a therapist. Sometimes a situation has gone on for so long, that you come to accept struggle, pain and unhappiness as a necessary part of life. Certainly every life has its share of these difficult experiences, but if these become the primary features of your existence, then it may not be worth it to persevere.
If there is some willingness on the part of others to work with you to make things better then there is certainly reason for optimism. But if you have tried repeatedly, and others are just not open to considering your needs, then to remain in that situation becomes self-destructive. It will erode your self-esteem, drain your energy, and ultimately affect your physical health. And no one is going to come along and rescue you.
But you will find support if you look for it. So if you feel that you just can’t take it anymore, then it is time to begin looking for a way out that will honor your rights as a human being. You are worth it.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca