Giving Up and Why It's Sometimes Okay

After reading the title of this, the first thought that will jump into my husband's mind is "What craft did she start this time?!".

Fortunately for him, this is not at all what I'm referring to. Most people think of "giving up" as a derogatory  phrase. They associate it with weakness and poor planning. Giving up often pairs with another phase, "easy way out", which is an equally negative notion. All these thinkings can be right in most situations. The fallacy falls in using this association in ALL situations.

It is true that if the important thinkers and doers of our world gave up, our lives would be drastically different. If our founding fathers in the United States gave up on creating the government that we have today, we possibly wouldn't enjoy the freedoms we take for granted each day. If Edison gave up on inventing the light bulb, technology might not be up to the level it is today. Etc. you get my point.

But I'm no extraordinary person. And with how many people we have on this Earth, you most likely aren't either. And because of that, it's sometimes okay to just give up.

One of the struggles we have faced recently was sleep training my 10 month old son, Oliver. After much research, many conversations with many moms, and Oliver's doctor, we decided to let him do the "cry it out" method. But the biggest key to this strategy is to not give up.

The doctor said that at his age, it would take about 4 maybe 5 days for it to work. We started with confidence and were happy to try something to help us all get more sleep. Like everyone said, the first day was rough. Ollie cried for 4 hours before he fell asleep. We were frustrated but we kept to our guns. That night and the next day was a little improvement, but not enough to really feel like progress. We did just as the plan called for. We didn't give in to temptations that would foil all of our efforts.

But as the days wore on, so did our level of happiness. I was so stressed that I got a canker sore. Oliver was utterly miserable, we we're sleeping less than before we started the regiment, and Oliver was starting to cry and never go to sleep. He went whole days without a nap. There were days that I felt like I hadn't seen my kiddo all day because of the countless hours he spent crying alone. He would cry all day even when he was not going to sleep and was not alone because of his lack of sleep. Even after 5 days, he continued to cry for hours instead of sleeping.

My view for a more than a week
When the means start to not justify the end, it is time to let go. And so we did with the horrid sleep training.

At first I was so frustrated. I had read and read how this can be so good for families and sleeping habits. I had grown up with the ideas instilled in me that you can't rely on your parents for everything. I was determined to have the parenting style that helped children grow to love independence and not dependence. So why did I feel so guilty for the dreaded "giving up"?

The fumes coming out of my ears must have been visible because my wise mother pulled me aside. She reassured me that giving up on this was not a bad thing. It just meant that I needed to try a different thing.

I let my sweet almost one year old fall asleep in my arms every time for night time and nap time now. I think of the years that are coming, and how I'm going to wish I could hold my little boy and rock him to sleep again.

I had spent so much time dwelling on not giving up on one thing (and making everyone miserable) that I forgot to see that there is always more than one path to take to reach a goal. Giving up on something that's not so great for you is okay when you replace it with something better

But this is not this first time learning this lesson in my life unfortunately. I don't talk often now about this, but if you learn a lesson from trials, it's best to share what you learned.

In high school, I dated a boy for about a year and a half. We were young, and we were stupid (don't you just love hindsight?). I believed then that giving up on relationships was the ultimate no-no. I believed that as long as I didn't give in or give up, all would turn out well in the end. Boyfriend and girlfriend relationships are tricky because there are only two outcomes- either break up or get married. There are literally no other options. And because of that, there comes a certain point in the relationship where you have to choose which path you want to go down. When the point in our relationship came where we needed to make a decision, I didn't want to make one.

I didn't realize at the time that I needed to let that relationship go so that a year later, I would be able to meet and fall in love with my husband. Giving up was so hard because I couldn't see the what good giving up could do for me. Letting go gave me freedom to find myself, date many more guys before I met my husband, and confidence that I can do hard things. But man. I sure didn't see that at all. The negative connotations of giving up were so ingrained in me that I felt like a failure.

As I get older (and I'm really not even old here), I learn more and more that giving up isn't such a bad thing. I also have realized that there are more things that we should be giving up on rather than continuing. Take this awesome list for an example:

Tamara Star created this list at dailytransformations.com. Click  here to read more about this awesome list!

I highly suggest going to the website to look at her expansions on each subject. We need to stop always associating giving up as weakness. Sometimes, giving up is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

And to wrap everything up, in the famous words of Frozen,
 "Let it go!"


P.S. feel free to comment your opinions and stories. And feedback! Conversations are fun!

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