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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ellis

Why is it so hard to quit?

The news this week has been absolutely jam packed with resignations. All delivered in various ways, formal letters, tweets, public speeches. Nearly all suggesting some sort of regret at the decision.

And its not just jobs we quit - Nadal the great Spanish tennis player has had to withdraw from Wimbledon due to an injury. An injury that his father was waving at him from the court side to give in to. And yet still he played on. Only resigning to the injury (or the inevitable) when he simply could do no more.

Such pain was the other great resignation this week that the person delivering it literally couldn't even bring themselves to say the words "I resign".

So why is it that we find it so hard to quit? To give in. To resign. Or to simply let go?

When I quit my own corporate job in March 2021 to become a full time hypnotherapist, the move had been equally painful. I was 100% certain it was what I wanted but the pain I went through - or put myself through before I did finally quit was unreal. In fact for me I had been trying to quit or let go of that job since 2016.

I justified the decision to stay on practical grounds examples being;

1) How would I pay my bills without it?

2) What would I do instead?

3) What would my family and friends think if I just quit?

But the true reality of the situation was fear, particularly of the unknown was keeping me absolutely trapped in a toxic cycle. My burnt out mind had a cycle of repetitive thoughts " I want to leave my job...but I don't know what to do I'm stuck". So I stayed. I stayed with what was familiar. Not because I loved it or it really gave my life meaning and purpose. Just because it was a safe, known entity.

This sort of cycle is something I often discuss with my RTT clients. We stay with what is familiar to us and our minds naturally try to protect us by moving us away from the unfamiliar. So in my case trying a new role, or having a period of quiet reflection rather than working at 99mph was utterly unfamiliar to me and my terrified mind protected me from that feeling by keeping me in the familiar place where it thought I was safe.

So if you are struggling to make change in your life, to let go of something or someone, to quit a habit or like me a job that you know is no longer serving you - ask yourself why you are still doing it? And is it just that its something that has the comfort of familiarity?

The game changer then comes when you can take the familiar and make it unfamiliar! That opens up a space for you to introduce new positive habits, beliefs, behaviour patterns, people, places and jobs and of course make them familiar!

Liz x

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