Is this really what you want?
So you’re done, huh? This is it, you’ve seen all that you want, life has nothing left to offer? It got too hard, someone yelled or you messed up, you even made a bad choice and it’s over now? What are you going to do? Chances are you aren’t reading this with the last few minutes of your life; on the contrary, you have plenty of time left. You might have 20-60 more years left, maybe even more, but does that matter if you’ve already given up? Did you really want it to be easy? Is winning every single time something you can handle? How did you imagine it, and was that idea realistic?
A skewed perspective of reality has been a weakness of mine for quite a while. What I thought I heard or saw vs. what actually happened was quite different. Even now, having transformed my life dramatically, I still have trouble being fully present in a conversation or accepting reality instead of the dreams in my head. What is the cause of this? Human beings react to negative emotions in funny ways. When we are young, we are very impressionable, by the environment and most definitely ourselves. Every tragedy seems like the end of the world, and every feeling of excitement is the best thing to ever happen. Fireworks were a lot bigger and prettier when you were little, weren’t they?
Are you sure you want to throw in the towel now? If the answer is yes, what are you going to instead, take the easy road and talk about how you were gonna? Taking time to rest is important or you will burn to a crisp, but every single day, just as often as you work? We sleep about a third of our life, meaning that we recharge less than we operate. Meaning you have plenty of time after that hard thing that just “destroyed” you to get back up and try again. Are you a part of the people who talk, or the people who do? I have been with the former for too long, seeing no results and being unhappy with my circumstances.
We all are a loose collection of personalities, with each fighting to be called “me”.
When you act malevolent or mischevious, and you know you are, why do you do it anyway? When you are about to hurt someone else, and you stop yourself, what stopped you? There are several theories of personality, including an entire field of psychology devoted to personality. While all of these theories and how they relate to our everyday life could be written about for years, let’s focus on one the original theories, and how it relates to “giving in”.
Freud discovered 3 essential parts of our personality, 2 of which developed over time. Our id is where our instincts come in, all of the impulses and desires that have to happen right now. It is unconscious and deals in forms of pleasure and tension. It does not develop over time. From a biological standpoint, this could be seen as the right brain. The ego is the decision-making component, with reason and rational. It functions realistically, develops over time, reacts to social norms, uses strategy to avoid negative consequences, and obtain the positive forms of pleasure that the id seeks. Geared toward problem-solving, Freud named it the “man on the back of the horse” meaning that the horse is the id, and the ego is to “hold in check the superior strength of the horse.” This would be the left brain.
The final part of our personality, according to Freud, is the super ego, which brings the two together. From my perspective, this is our higher self. It keeps the ego from giving in to the demands of the id, and also pushes us to work towards improvement for the greater good. The super ego uses pride as a consequence for meeting the measures of our ideal-self, and guilt through the conscience by failing to meet those measures, instead of giving in to the demands of the id. Our ideal-self and conscience are determined by our parents, and our bars of expectation is high or low depending on how we were raised.
Simply put, we have a complex system to work through every single time we make a decision. Each and every moment, we are making a decision on how to breathe, move, talk, do, etc. If you decide to have those actions be involuntary, then the “autopilot” of breathing, for example, will be on the setting that you developed as a child. So if we are breathing too shallow, it is advisable to take breathing into a voluntary action and breathe slower and deeper.
So when we are troubled and are contemplating giving up or pushing onward, we are instantaneously running through all of our types of personalities, fighting, rationalizing, demanding and re organizing our belief system. Even if Freud’s model is not used, the concept is still the same: a lot of work goes into making a decision. So how do we manage all of it? How do we know what the right decision to make, how do we know when to quit and when to keep going?
Life is way too short to give up, you get so many chances at trying, but only one life.
I am glad you’ve asked those questions because frankly, I wonder about them too. When is the right time to go all in, and when is it smart to cut your losses? I have been pondering this my whole life, hardly ever knowing if I was making the right decision for myself, or for someone else. Judging by my own perspective on the first 18 years, I can say I’ve spent way too many decisions on trying to make other’s happy at the expense of myself. Turns out it’s okay to not always please others. Also turns out that when I take care of my well-being first, I am in a much better position to take care of the rest of the world.
Sometimes you won’t know if what you are jumping in to will work out. I have learned, that if it feels right, the outcome will be great, even if it wasn’t exactly what I imagined it to be. When it comes down to it, we really just have to evaluate how much it means to you. Both relationships and finances can be reasoned with and also decided with intuition, but when it comes down to it, we decide everything in a split second. Alan Watts once said that “A choice is an act of hesitation that we make before making a decision.” So go with your gut, look over all of the options but realize that you can never take in enough data.
Accept where you are, let go of what has happened and keep moving forward.
The false idea of reality we have accepted is that it is all a competition. That my bank account has to be more, my house has to be bigger, my family nicer, my job, better. That I have to be beating you in order to be successful and happy. This is easy to believe when everyone else thinks this, but thankfully, we are allowed to form our own opinions of the world. I urge you to do the same, even if you do not agree with any of this. It is okay to disagree. That is part of what makes our lives so unique.
Not all of us are born having to struggle, and not all of us are born with a caring family and a fridge full of food. We are all different. Comparing my struggles to that of others to determine if my life is good or not is the same as comparing the life of a fish to that of a robin. Every life situation has its own positive and negative qualities. At the end of the day, all that matters is what we do with the life we have been given. Not how much money we make, but how we make our money. Once I started accepting who I am, where I was and that everything but my own action is out of my control, I became much happier. I am thankful for all of the people in my life, the experiences I have had, and the opportunities in front of me. Now that I have done that, I am able to move forward.
Persisting through the hard times is, well, hard. It takes patience, determination, willpower, and faith. It will not get easier, we will only get stronger. I have a quote that I have ingrained in my brain, and it comes up every time I start to call it quits. “If you give up now, you will never know if it would have worked out.”
If you can relate to this article, or have any questions or comments, feel free to share below. I have wanted to give up hundreds of times, on writing, relationships, school, life itself. But here I am. I would love to hear about your stories, and how you got through them. I hope you have a wonderful day!