In our culture to give up means to surrender your hope, to stop pursuing your dream to stop doing what you want to do due to obstacles and so on. In other words “giving up” has a negative connotation which somehow defines our character as weak, not trustworthy, unreliable etc. In the context of giving up what we want to do, what we promised, or what is expected of us to do in order to preserve our integrity (see “ON INTEGRITY”), to give up does not obviously serve us. What I would like to draw your attention to is a different context in which “giving up” may be very beneficial to our sanity, good relationships, and the rate of our growth as human beings.
You’ve probably already guessed: giving up what does not serve us indeed may be beneficial to the happiness we experience in our lives. The question is how do we know what to give up. If it is so obvious that I am repeatedly doing what does not make me, or others around me happy, how come that I still keep doing those things that I “know” do not work. Let me suggest that that you may very well NOT know that what you keep doing does not work. It is very hard to see. For example think about your insistence of being right, or justifying your actions although you know that you made a mistake. Surely you gain something by:
• Being right /making others wrong
• Justifying yourself / invalidating others
• Dominating others / avoid being dominated
• Avoid taking responsibility for something
• Avoid being at risks (I do not mean a saber-tooth tiger, but something like a conversation)
This is what we call a “pay-off”.
Now I want to think about what your pay of costs you. Let me suggest. How about:
• Love / intimacy
• Health / vitality
• Your self-expression
• Your relationship
• Your participation
Are you willing to pay the price of the COST in order to get your PAY-OFF?
Giving up your pay-offs in order to avoid the cost is “good” and useful as you might have noticed, but you may ask, how do I do it. The key is to be aware of what comes out of your mouth. Observe yourself, observe the others and how they react to you and observe, like a fly on the wall, yourself and others being in conversation. What do you see? This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. Be careful, though, do not cross the limit and start blaming yourself and making yourself “wrong” and being at the same time “right” about it. No one can fool us as we can fool ourselves. We are simply masters at it.
If there is un UPSET, FRUSTRATION, or FAMILIARITY in your actions then you can be certain that you are about to, or that you re getting your pay-off. Give it up!
• Examples of what to give up:
• Complaining about something to a person who cannot do anything about it.
• Gossiping, i.e. talking about someone who is not present.
• Resistance to apologizing
• Giving reasons and excuses
• Being dominated by your promises, etc.
Please share with us your insights. Since this is sometimes so hard to see, your stories may be a big contribution to others.