Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


I Believe In Quitting

posted by Beyond Blue

Group BB rose.jpg

Group Beyond Blue member Drama Queen wrote a powerful piece about breaking the patterns of dysfunction. I loved her essay. Here it is.

I believe in quitting. 

Growing up in America, in a middle-class home in a suburban community, I was instilled with the Protestant work ethic. I have learned the value of pulling my own weight, taking responsibility for my actions, and being dependable and reliable. I respect authority, obey rules and help others whenever I can. I am strong. 

I am also weak. The perfectionism in my personality eats away my strength from the inside out. It insists on showing me all the rules I’ve broken, and all the people I’ve failed to help. It focuses on the distance between who I am and who I “should” be. I’ve been given every advantage – a stable childhood, natural intellect and talents, a college education, a wonderful husband and son. And yet I’m still not good enough. 

But I have learned how to battle this enemy. I have learned how to quit. 

When my husband left me several years ago, and my world came crashing down, I got a chance that many people don’t get. I could start my life over, from scratch, and build it however I wanted, using knowledge I didn’t have the first time around. As I surveyed the wreckage of my life, I began to see patterns, unnecessary patterns. 

My life had been built on assumptions gleaned from the world around me. My goal had always been to do everything “right”. Unfortunately, there are many definitions of “right”. I chose the ones that fit into my upbringing. I allowed the world around me to tell me the “right” way to live. To be a good wife, you must do this, and this, and this, and this. To be a good mother, you must do that, and that, etc. Sitting in the dust pile at ground zero, I saw the flaw in the design. The house I had tried to build was doomed to crumble. There were no load-bearing walls, only facades, propped up by assumptions and “general wisdom”. 

My path was clear. If I was going to rebuild, I would have to establish a firm foundation of who I was and throw away all the debris of who I “should be”. I spent many months clearing the property. I examined every commitment I was in, and quit all that were not compatible with my new foundation. Each commitment, in and of itself, was good and right and some were even noble. But they weakened me, because they did not fit my true design. 

Once the foundation was laid, I established guidelines to screen every timber and bolt before it was allowed to be used. If it did not fit, flow with or complement my foundation, it was unacceptable. My new house would stand. As new commitments presented themselves, they were screened and tested, and only those that passed were allowed in. Some that passed the initial screening, proved later to be unsuitable to the structure, so they were removed. 

Quitting has brought me peace. I make commitments very carefully, and I fulfill them to the best of my ability. But I am no longer bound to the universal guilt of needing to do every good thing. 

I do what I do. And it is good. And the world is left to fill the rest of its need for good through others. When I’m done, I quit. And I stay whole.

To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.



  • Wendi

    I had a similar opportunity to rebuild when lost my business and filed for bankruptcy in 2000. I had to start all over financially, mentally, and emotionally. Everything I thought was true about life, other people, God and myself was proven to be false in a very short time, and I fell apart. The most important thing I learned is that you can do everything “right” and still fail miserably according the world’s standards. That was hard to swallow, and it has taken me years to come to grips with knowing that.
    I live deliberately now – making sure that what I do serves me and those I love, not some silly idea of what life is supposed to look like. I’m kinder and gentler with myself and those around me. Life is hard for everybody in one way or another, and none of us got the rule book before we started. We’re all just doing the best we can to get by, one day at a time. I’m just trying to stay alive and contribute something; none of the rest of it matters.

  • Your Name

    wendi thats very true true sometimes we have to live by our own rules.i did the right thing for years and found when the bottom fell out know one really caredso i have learned you cand be good and do the right thing but with limits.

  • marilyn

    i know what it like to always do the right thing and when i ended up on the bottom even with change it was never good enough.so now i try to do the right thing and treat people with respect but know that i have to take care of mecause iam the only one thats going to do it.its survival.

  • Kay Cardona

    I always try to do the right thing but akways end up at the worse end of things. everyone seems to go their own way so happily and i feel stuck as its not right to do this or that. I keep back from putting certain people out of my life because i love them even though they are doing me no good in my life. After years of having them I am reluctant to let them go.

  • Valerie

    Really great essay. Thank you! Valerie

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lena

    LOVE THIS!!!!

    I did exactly this at the beginning of year I QUIT! I walked away from everything I thought I couldn’t, unloaded unnecessary baggage. I just felt like I could not figure me out, I was scared because I never know when it is DEPRESSION or truly me working at being a better me. Yet, this felt so right- it evolved from wanting a more spiritual foundation that guided me; not me forcing it. I stopped everything, left the spiritual world to do its work, allowing it to guide me…very much a work in progress however for me I have handed it over to a greater power it is no longer MY WORK IN PROGRESS it is HIS!

    Faulkner summed this up for me in a quote “the absolute worse thing a person could do was make himself a ‘spiritual person.’ The one thing for anyone to become, the only valuable thing, is to become yourself.”
    this he warns takes a great deal of work.

    I did not QUIT the willingness to work at it; I QUIT forcing my efforts…bare naked, quiet and ready I continue to be guided to becoming ME. IF FEELS SO GOOD!!!

    THANKS FOR SHARING!
    yearofom.blogspot.com

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Angela

    Thank you for this. YOu have just describe me. Today was a great day to read this piece because yet again I was about to do something “right” which would have been a huge mistake. A mistake I have apparentely being making most of my life.
    I applaud you in taking a fresh look a your life and sharing your thoughts with us. Thanks to you I am doing the same and it feels great!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Serena

    That is what I do. Always trying to do the right thing even if its wrong for me. I have the desire to change this but I don’t even know where to start.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Beth

    Thanks for sharing such truth and honesty! I believe and I quit too. Just a few years ago. The best is yet to come !

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment barb

    thank you for such a great commentary. i hope at some point in everyone’s life, they learn this great lesson. i quit too. i am also learning little by little how to quit more and more, letting go of things that take away from my peace. my peace is becoming more and more important every day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Skylark

    Much valuable wisdom in this post…thanks for taking the time to share your experiences…and giving others the motivation to do in their lives what it takes to achieve similar goals.

  • http://www.livingvoraciously.wordpress.com AK

    I married at the age of 19, divorced last year after more than a decade of marriage. At the age of 30, I have had to stand at that “ground zero” and really take a long hard look at my life and all the things that I was doing because they were “right” and that’s how it’s suppose to be. I think I’m doing better now but some days are just easier than others I guess.

    I usually lark around here … reading your blog almost every day but this is the first time I’ve actually commented. Just wanted you to know that this really resonated inside me. If you visit my blog you’ll probably see how many of your blogs I’ve reposted in mine :) Thanks for writing!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sheilah

    I’m pretty confused. You said you’ve quit but it sounds like you’ve just taken a different direction. Is that the same as quitting? I thought quitting was stopping, giving it up. We surely cannot give up our life. Maybe I just can’t read between the lines. Maybe it’s quitting and giving up on others but not ourselves. The time when we have to weigh who has more at stake … me or them? When you’re going through an unsettling time in your life things get clouded and I guess you just have to go with the feeling in your heart and not your head or is it the other way around? I want to be free but I never want to be perceived as a quitter.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Yahel

    Inspiring words!
    Thank you so very much!

  • http://marlajayne.wordpress.com Jayne

    Enjoyed reading this! I don’t think our Creator wants us to be unhappy, stressed, or plagued with guilt. I think He wants us to fulfill our God-given potential, and that doesn’t necessarily mean living a life dictated by others. NO is one of my new favorite words, NO to unreasonable demands or crazily high expecations of others.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment hilda

    Drama Queen,
    Thank you for sharing this. You truly are speaking to my heart. My house has crumbled too and I’m not sure how to stand alone. I don’t like it but it’s my reality. Your essay is great encouragement.
    Thank you.

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