Throwing in the towel, an expression that comes from boxing, in which a fighter indicates surrender by throwing his towel into the ring. Many of us use that expression when the going gets too tough but often we also “throw in the towel” with bitterness and frustration. That’s fine! Sometimes it takes enough frustration and maybe even anger to force yourself to let go and move on to something else, some other project or someone else that (or whom) adds happiness and fulfillment to your life.
I sat on a lounge chair on the beach in Monterosso, Italy last month pondering life despite my attempts to relax and think of nothing. I went through a list of the positives and negatives in my life. Then I asked myself ‘ Which negatives are worth fixing? What resources are required and how much time out of my life is needed to resolve the issues? Would it be worth the effort?’ Oh! And, ‘are some of the positives really positives or are they masking an underlying issue or disappointment about to surface?’ You may think this is negative or “glass half empty” talk but when it comes to your well being, it pays to be a realist and not look at things the way you want to see them but for how they really are.
It also pays to step back, assess the whole picture and decide for yourself if this challenge or negative situation is worth your efforts.
Here’s a checklist I created for myself:
Is this worth the withdrawal from your emotional and mental bank account?
Do you find yourself tolerating?
Is it wearing out your patience?
Are you getting sick just thinking about it?
Are you losing sleep and valuable productivity?
Is this worth your health?
Then, it’s time to graciously let go.
Throwing in the towel isn’t really a sign of defeat or surrender. It’s an indication that you made a healthy choice to serve yourself, stick to your standards and preserve your integrity.
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