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July 1, 2013

Lisa Madras: Sometimes, giving up is your best option


Is there ever a time when giving up on someone makes sense?
I know a ton of people right now who are struggling to not give up.  We all want to hold on to what we have... it's human nature.  And normally that's a good thing.  But what happens when your determination keeps you holding on to something that simply isn't good for you?
My friend Rose can't seem to give up the need to have a peaceful relationship with her ex-husband, even though the man is immature and verbally abusive.  Another friend, Alexis, revisits the circumstances over and over again of the ending of a past relationship, even though it ended simply enough, with his infidelity and ultimate betrayal.  I, myself, held onto a relationship for almost four years, despite constant proof that the man was nowhere close to caring about me, let alone actually loving me.
In all of our cases, it's fairly obvious that insanity is the only explanation for not giving up.  We're all reasonably intelligent women, and it's plain to see that what we're really holding onto is the wishful thinking that these men would be different, or that different choices had been made, or different circumstances had led to a different outcome.
I always say that you should never take away someone's hope.  Now, though, I realize that that blanket euphemism is a little skewed.  Perhaps I should say you should never take away someone's hope unless that hope is destroying them.
And so to Rose  I say, "Stop believing that a horrible person will ever be changed into a nice one by your kindness.  It's time to give up."
To Alexis, I say, "Stop rehashing the past to form a logical conclusion from an illogical person's illogical actions.  It's time to give up."
To myself I say, "Stop trying to create love where there is none.  It's time to give up."
And to all of you out there who find yourselves tortured by and torn between holding onto hope and giving up:  It's time to give up.
Giving up does not mean that you've failed, not when you've given it everything you have to give, and the sole remaining function of your hope is the death of your own self-worth.  By not giving up these people, you're really giving up on yourself.  Let them go.  Give up your imaginary control over someone else's journey.  Your own journey is far more important, and far more beautiful.  And if your paths happen to cross somewhere along the way, simply smile, wish them the best, and move on.  (But please, for all that's good and right in this world, stop letting them live rent-free in your head.)
Sing.  Dance.  Be courageous.  Love.  Live.  And save your hope for someone who realizes that you are the most valuable treasure on the face of this 
You knew that once, long ago... remember?


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