Knowing When to Give Up

Reality is brutal. Hardships are necessary for growth. Still, that doesn’t mean you should throw yourself into agonizing situations and keep yourself there in hopes that it’ll get better. It’s a Sisyphean feat. Other than to perhaps extend your tolerance, you don’t necessarily grow from enduring hardships; you grow through overcoming them.

Therefore, stop choosing to endure the pain. You’re not supposed to fight to make your life harder. Fight to simplify and minimize the hardships in your life. If your relationship is adding on to any of your existing problems or creating new ones, maybe it’s time to leave it. Choosing to endure the pain with the idea that your situation will improve makes about as much sense as saying, “I want to jump higher!,” and then proceeding to shoot yourself in the leg. If you’ve already given enough time and persistence, and communicated the issues at hand, what’s really stopping you from ending your stagnant relationship?

Perhaps it’s pride — something that usually prevents us from wanting to give up on what we’ve put so much time and effort into.

I remember when I first got into a relationship with my now-ex-boyfriend. Throughout the time when we were together, I was filled with doubts. Mostly doubts that he truly liked me. As a person who already has a multitude of trust issues, his inability to keep his word made it hard for me to trust him. And it’s not entirely his fault. It’s just the way he is. He’s the type of person to take his time in order to evaluate and realize his true feelings, which he usually keeps bottled up anyway. My trust issues may have even intensified by being with him. In one instance, he admitted that he still liked me, but later the same night, he retracted that statement. Despite his claim that he tries his best to mean what he says, I started to question whether he liked me for who I am, or if he liked the attention I gave him and the way I made him feel. Even though I usually felt like my feelings were being played with, I kept going with the relationship in hopes that he’d figure out his feelings and opinions and stick with them. A mistake? Yes.

Or it’s fear — fear that the future won’t hold something better. Fear that you can’t live without him or her, and fear that you won’t know how to cope with the pain from the breakup. You think, despite everything, “It’s the longest and best relationship I’ve had.” Yet, it’s not the last, nor is it the longest or best relationship you’ll ever have.

Despite all the differences between my ex and I, I couldn’t simply let him go. As a person who doesn’t experience romantic feelings toward others easily, when it does happen, I end up falling hard. After all, he’s been my first and only boyfriend. Throughout my life, I avoided relationships because I didn’t want to go through any pain. I’m sure most people would agree that stepping into a relationship is risky because it’s equivalent to opening yourself up to that large possibility. As with everyone, being in a relationship meant revealing parts of yourself that you sometimes keep hidden away in hopes that you’ll find the right person to accept you entirely for who you are. Despite all the mixed feelings my ex gave me, he still made me comfortable with myself. We both are extremely flawed, but we both wanted to help each other with our distinct problems. Thus, I looked mostly at the short-term aspects of our relationship. My view of my future was skewed by my fear of pain because I didn’t yet realize that my staying in the relationship was causing more harm than good.

Love can be transformative and destructive — sometimes both at the same time. Which is why I’ll bring it back to the fact that overcoming hardships is how we all grow. You, unlike Sisyphus, have the option to break the chain that ties you to the feat.

Mira Lu
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