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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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When Do You Give Up?

February 2014

Do you know when to walk away? When to give up? Now that may sound like a weird topic for me, but it Is an important one. Sometimes, the healthiest choice that we can make is giving up. This choice is not celebrated nearly as much as toughing it out. But it can take as much courage; sometimes more.

In our society, we celebrate those who stick with it through thick and thin; they set their goal and never stop until they achieve it. I think that is an amazing attribute. Sometimes, however, continuing to knock your head against the wall is not proving anything to anyone. We may be walking away from relationships that never get healthy. Even though our partner has promised, again, that he or she will never be violent again, never drink again, never spend money unwisely again, never cheat again. If this is an on-going pattern that he or she continues to do, no matter how many promises are made, then you need to see if you can tolerate that behavior, because it is not changing. If you cannot, then you need to consider ending the relationship. Is that weak?

We may walk away from goals that are unachievable. You have decided that you are going to be a pro athlete, professional actor or entertainer, writer, singer or the president of the United States. Or perhaps you have some learning disability that makes the goal that you want to achieve unreasonable. Finding a goal that is reachable, is that settling?

When we walk away, it can mean that we have seen that this is not the right path for us. It takes tremendous courage to admit to that, perhaps more courage than staying. Especially since you know that others may not understand. But always stay true to you.

The Serenity Prayer can often help in this situation:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

The key here is to find your path, the right thing for you. You may have a few false starts along the way. But take your time to figure it out. When you are on the right path, it still may not be easy, but it will feel so much better!

And enjoy the journey.

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