When Quitting Feels Amazing.

I have a confession to make:

I’ve had a stack of books out from the library since early February. They’re about language and they’ve been gathering dust on my bookshelf. I’ve renewed them at least 4 times and I feel pretty crappy about it.

They sit near my work space and I find myself eyeing them uncomfortably.

book pile1

This image is way too big for a reason: you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. (Photo credit & big thanks to Nina Chen!)

So today when it came time to renew these books for the 5th time, I decided to stop kidding myself. Not-so-deep down, I knew the truth: I’m not going to read them. There, I said it. So I returned them.

I would call this quitting. I totally failed at reading them. And you know?Β I FEEL AWESOME ABOUT IT!


Sometimes what feels like procrastination is actually one of three things:

  1. not the right time (it may never beΒ – it’ll be later, when your priorities reshuffle)
  2. not the right thingΒ (the less you fight it, the easier it’ll be to let go)
  3. or it’s actually procrastination (only you get to decide if this is actually the case)

Is there something you’ve been feeling guilty or ashamed about neglecting?

Give yourself a big hug and exhale deeply and smile (seriously, do this now). Do you feel better? (If not, do it again and mean it this time.) Spend a moment appreciating who you are in this moment, and if you need to, let go of the guilt or stress whatever it is you’re pondering: wholeheartedly, free of judgment and criticism, perfect just the way you are.

Now you’re ready to face the music and be honest with yourself: is this one of those times quitting will feel amazing?

Anything festering up in your mind or collecting dust on your shelf? Take the first step and admit inΒ in the comments below!


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  • Lauren

    I know this feeling! (I was just debating renewing a library book for the 2nd time.) I like how this applies to multiple things in life apart from library books.

    • Irina

      Always πŸ™‚ and as simple yet frustrating as unread library books are, it’s something we can all relate to.
      xo /irina

  • Julian

    Hi Irina!

    Timing. Not the right time. I’ll confess, I have left my extra/ ‘side’ studies of psychology assignments to the last minute. I want the credits, yes. Now? No, not actually…Why? Not quite hungry for it at this point in time. Why did I start it then? It was a way out to not do something else, perhaps considered somewhat more painful, at that time – in my case, looking for a job, when a job of working for someone else was the last thing I wanted to do over the summer of 2013, particularly when the whole of the 2012’s summer I spent indoors working 10hr days, in The Netherlands. Perhaps then I chose to indulge in something that was something I underestimated in terms of time and energy to complete / work through, even though I wanted to experience my first full Finnish summer…don’t regret it though! πŸ™‚

    Having said this, I have assignments due this week for 5 courses this week, and decided on Sunday,”That’s it! I’m letting this package go. I will do 20% of that what is required, because that is what I find most valuable in knowing!” It was a great feeling, ‘quitting’! πŸ™‚ I hadn’t seen a film for a long time, so I watched a super delightful and very human film called ‘Her’. Have you seen it? The main message – human openness, connection, emotion and touch, is what is needed. At least from my view.

    And that’s something that I asked myself, “If I’m not hungry for (this) or (that), like my studies, what am I truly hungry for, and not just for the sake of metaphorically ‘eating’?” If it it’s not information from books / web, then it’s what Her’s message is – more of human connection and interaction moments and experiences.

    I will be happy to quit the side plate of studies this Friday, and look forwards to that smorgasbord of useful stuff again, but just another day. πŸ™‚

    I think the thing of reading / studying / doing something worthwhile for the soul and ego, is that it should meet a real psychological and physiological hunger. I know for my work in the future, knowing psychology is important, but it should also be timely / relevant, which I can then respond and apply. Maybe it’s a good idea to think of it as, ‘respond to the hunger, by knowing where the food is, but not trying to force yourself to eat it just because it is there’? On other hand, maybe it’s also quite ok just to taste a sample – it may just reveal what you’ve been missing out on…?

    Anyways, this is me responding to my hunger, and making a connection, with you, and others, who might read this. I hope you don’t mind. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good stuff on here!

    • Irina

      Hey Julian,

      Sounds like you’re doing quite a lot of digesting (haha!) on the subject so please feel free. Congrats on choosing to let go and quit. I’m sure you’ve still gotten something out of it at this point and perhaps priorities will reshuffle later down the line, who knows?

      I haven’t seen ‘Her’ but I’ll keep an eye out for it – thanks for the recommendation πŸ™‚

  • I love this post, Irina. I always do/see/hear/.. so many things at the same time that I end up collecting books to be read, things to be looked up, new stuff to be learned. Whenever I get a rush of “I need simplicity” I take all this stuff and throw it away (or return it to the person who gave it to me). I immediately feel more freedom then πŸ™‚

    • Irina

      Awesome to hear! I remember Claudio saying something similar too during his talk about how if we have 100 papers lying around, no matter how important they are, we won’t be able to get anything done. It’s the same with emails sometimes too >.<

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