Experiment With Your Limits

By Alex Evans

Editor in Chief

After experiencing a less-than-ideal first semester, I still face the challenge of sticking with something that causes me discomfort, or stepping back to alleviate that discomfort. This is an incredibly fine line to walk, as quitting a task requires bearing the societal perception of laziness and failure, but sticking through can cause genuine distress and risks exacerbating mental health issues. Therefore, I advise anyone who struggles with the same dilemma to embrace discomfort and experiment with their limits by defying societal expectations. 

To a certain extent, discomfort with something can promote growth. This makes sense, as someone who pushes past the realm of comfort into discomfort will — within reason — tolerate a little more discomfort each time, until they grow far beyond the point at which they started. Although, certain struggles — specifically concerning mental health — end with greater harm than benefit when pressing into that discomfort. 

School requires social interaction and patience, which can undermine my energy for the rest of the day, even if I only attend one or two classes. I have the option to listen to my inclination to take care of myself and leave, or stick around and tough it out. In seeking an environment devoid of social interaction, I preserve my capacity to get things done throughout the day. If I powered through and stayed, I would get little done for the rest of the day after returning home. This is just one instance for deciding to fight the quitting urge, but this choice between staying or fleeing affects sport, friends, family, and more. 

Societally, I used to think of walking away as quitting; something is too hard or demands too much energy, so I give up. In exploring the benefits of quitting, I have learned the option to quit also provides benefits, making it a valid option: I am able to do work with a more level headspace, and I will return to school the next day with a refreshed energy level. Realizing this has helped shift my mindset from quitting to self-preservation; I embraced my selfish desire to quit, and now I use it as a defense mechanism for my energy. 

This understanding of quitting has taken many days of staying at school, going home, and wading through these uncomfortable situations to reach this acceptance with “quitting.” While getting to know this boundary, I quit the sport I loved and am still unsure if I will resume, I embraced other activities I can tolerate, and I learn more about myself day by day. This is easier said than done, as it takes the ability to defy others’ opinions and act in my own interest. 

By training my brain I learned to be selfish about my needs and boundaries. It is hard to prioritize what you need when it takes stepping back from things you formerly loved, or accepting lesser standards than your past. This is neither a change I made overnight nor a lesson I learned in a day — this is a learned experience that took months to grow conscious of; hopefully this explanation helps you understand where to draw the line between quitting and self-defense. 

Categories: Opinion

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