How to Suck It Up and Admit It’s Time to Quit

Even the best-laid plans can fall through

A man stands with his packed bag.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Everyone has to face circumstances they dislike, but what happens when a disagreeable situation doesn’t change? Do you stick with it or quit?

Perhaps there’s never a terrific time to give up on a relationship, job, or project going nowhere, or worse, going in the wrong direction. Once you’ve put massive effort into making things work, like many people, you’re likely to be reluctant to call it a day.

Nonetheless, sometimes staying in a bad situation will wear you down, stealing your vitality and motivation until getting out of your rut feels too challenging.

It’s often wisest to know when to give a project, your job, or a friendship the big heave-ho and suck it up, recognizing it’s all over and time to move to greener pastures.

Why do we hang on when it’s over?

We might cling to an old, familiar situation that doesn’t serve us well because we know how to handle it. Even if we get sick because the going’s tough and stress damages our well-being, making sleep impossible and anxiety a daily experience, we refuse to budge.

We get so used to the circumstances, however dire, recognizing we can get through them like we always do and survive, albeit feeling emotionally battered and bruised.

Familiarity and fear of trying something new make us stay when we should go. We may not leave a bad situation because we can’t help thinking about what could go wrong if we hand in our notice, wave goodbye, or admit it’s all over.

Financial concerns, a lack of confidence, and even fear of loneliness could hold us back and force us to stay in the mire.

How we can embrace change

To move on, we first have to admit what we’ve worked hard to achieve hasn’t worked out for us and isn’t improving. Rather than kid ourselves that we need to make more effort or wait for someone to save us, we have to see reality as it stands.

We’ve often made numerous efforts to improve projects or relationships before we knew when to quit. We’ve thought the same old notion that things would get better each time, but they never did.

We need to sit down and take stock, recalling those times we strived and sweated to improve, yet saw no change for the better. Then, we benefit from imagining the future stretching into the distance just as it is now.

When we let our imaginations show us what the future could be like, we experience anguish and dismay as the lightning strikes.

There’s no way we can go on like this, and something must change.

Plan before you take the plunge

Whether you need to leave your partner, career, or home, think ahead and plan where you’ll go next. Stabilize the first tentative steps you’ll need to take when you finally quit.

If needed, save up, so you have enough money, gather advice from professionals or friends, and visualize what to do next. Your confidence will rise once you have a plan because you won’t be so afraid.

Your plan might include asking someone you trust to support you. For example, maybe a friend can be on the end of the phone line when you want to talk or meet with you weekly to offer camaraderie. Or they may be able to provide practical help.

Recognize quitting doesn’t mean you failed

People sometimes think they’re failures when their best-laid plans fall apart — their self-esteem plummets. But giving up something that doesn’t work isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength.

Strong, resilient people know when to quit. They realize even the most talented, incredible people make mistakes and may need to change their lives.

Setbacks are stepping stones to a brighter future, and you can’t improve life until you let go of whatever can’t be changed.

Step up self-care

When you quit, ensure self-care is a huge part of your getaway plan. Look after yourself. Eat properly, avoid stimulants like alcohol and drugs that will scupper your goals, and get plenty of sleep. Keep your lifestyle balanced as much as possible, and you’ll have the vitality to cope.

Realize change is often for the best

It’s painful to release a dream, whether it is to enjoy a fantastic marriage or career. But when you quit, you open your life up to new possibilities. People and circumstances that wouldn’t otherwise come your way will appear.

After all, you’re less likely to meet anyone new if you are in a relationship, and if you are busy following a dream, other prospects won’t stand out and call for your attention.

See quitting as a step forward that widens your net, allowing you to catch new dreams, possibilities, and inspiration that can take you somewhere delightful.

Change comes to us all. Sometimes, people and circumstances drag the floor from under us because they alter or leave. But, at other times, we call it a day and venture into a brighter future.

If you need to quit what doesn’t work, take a step forward, only ensure you have a safety net in the form of a plan and support. Then, embrace a new life and be curious about what it might bring.

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Bridget Webber is a writer and nature lover, often found in the woodland, meadow, and other wild places. She writes poetry and stories and pens psychology articles; her love of discovering what rests inside the thicket and the brain compels her to delve deep. She’s appeared in many leading publications and ghostwrites for professionals who can’t spare the time to pen compositions.



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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.