I’m an Americanized and Westernized white woman. Society has told me a million times over what that means, what that should look like. In many ways, I fit the mold that was built for me. I’m a middle-class, relatively spoiled college student who was born with female anatomy and identifies as such. I’m a product of my environment absolutely, but I’m also a product of my choices. And although my choices are partly products of my environment as well, there’s still this thing called free will that I supremely and whole-heartedly believe in. My decisions have defined my life, and I’ve tended to always, always make the decision to never give up.
That mentality is surely a product of societal pressure. In the United States, our culture is permeated with the idea that if you’re not busy, you’re not achieving anything. And if you give up, you’re less of a human for it. Everything is do, do, do, and everyone is go, go, go. A busy schedule is something to brag about, and down time is something frowned upon. If you want something, go for it. If it doesn’t want you back, push harder. Limits are only boundaries you create for yourself, and boundaries are only created to be broken. Push, push, push. Go, go, go. Force, force, force. Never stand down. Never give up. On anything.
Well I’m here to call bullshit.
Learning to let things go often takes so much more strength than holding on, and there’s incredible value in giving up on the idea of the person or life you think you ought to have. Forcing things to go your way is a way to instill a false sense of control, and we all like to think we have it under control. Whatever that “it” may be: school, friends, relationships, work, life. So often the action of forcing something to unfold or unravel in the way in which you envisioned is actually the action of pushing it further away and corroding it into something it’s not meant to be.
Giving up is often not a bad thing. That relationship you’ve been holding onto. Or that job that you think you should keep. Or that past version of yourself that you are trying so desperately to get back. They’re gone. They’re not meant to be yours. At least not now, and perhaps they never will be. The more you hold onto something, the more space in your life you take up with negativity and fear. The less room you have for the people, experiences, memories, stories, and opportunities you are meant to have. By holding onto toxic energy and people, you are selling yourself short of the life you are destined to live.
There is a huge upside to giving up. When something isn’t rightfully yours to hold, you know it. You can feel it in your bones and in your spirit. Even if you aren’t ready to let it go right away, you are far more intuitive and knowledgeable than you give yourself credit. And if only you choose to act on that gut, you’ll soon realize that the unknown that we are all so desperately trying to escape is the greatest adventure of them all.
There are many things in life that I will never give up on: myself, my family, Love, and God. But what I’m trying to do now is learn to let go of the things that aren’t mine to hold. Because I trust that indeed there are far better things ahead than any I leave behind. My only job is to practice patience and trust. And when I am faced with a choice, to always Choose Love.