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Does giving up always have to sound negative?

When you were a kid playing a game and you’d shrug your shoulders and complain saying ‘It’s too hard, I give up’, it was never much that you were giving up, and you probably tried it again until you got it right. Being an adult and saying ‘I give up’ can sound a lot scarier, but it doesn’t have to sound so negative if you’re trying to pursue a positive.

Of course, when someone talks about giving something up, it sparks a worry. But, what if they’re giving something up to live a healthier lifestyle?

Imagine you have a family member who is a heavy cigarette smoker, and they finally say they’re going to give it up – you would be ecstatic for them. What if your best friend became dependant on drugs and realise they want to give it up before it’s too late? You’d want to support them in doing so.

One of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr, is best known for playing Iron Man. He is idolised by so many due to him being a very successful actor, but also his triumph over addiction. At an early age, Downey Jr. was introduced to drugs, which then led him into a downward spiral; getting arrested for drug-fuelled behaviour. Hitting rock bottom seemed like the only way he was heading.

The turning point for Downey Jr. was in 2003 when his wife (Susan Downey) gave him an ultimatum. At the time, he had what would have been a very difficult choice to make, but he stuck to the ultimatum which led him on a road to recovery. Robert Downey Jr. is now one of the most successful actors in the world where studios and directors are seeking him out, and his comeback is one of the most inspiring stories – he gave up substance abuse to live a healthy and successful life.

Something else that takes courage is giving up a career to pursue something completely different. Now, this can sound like a very frightening decision to make: what if it doesn’t work? How do I know that I’ll have a steady income? What if it takes time away from my family? Sometimes, you need to take that risk and pursue what you feel passionate about instead of being stuck in a career where you simply feel like you can’t get anything more out of it. It’s a huge decision to make, and can seem risky, but just like the old saying: ‘you never know unless you try’.

Brian Cox is an example of someone who took a massive leap in his career. He was involved heavily in music, playing keyboard in a band called D:Ream in the 90s. They had several hits in the UK charts including their most famous song ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. You may have thought this was his life mapped out for him: a successful musician. However, he decided to completely have a change in career. During his music career, he was also studying physics at the University of Manchester, which ultimately led him to his love for science. His heart was in his research, so when he was given the choice to go on an international band tour or continue his studies, he left D: Reams to finish his PhD.

Giving something up to make you feel like you’re going to achieve a lot more, is so much more important than what other people want you to do. I’ve had a few personal experiences that are very similar to this also; during my education, I fell in love with drama and acting. I went as far as studying it at A-Level and then attending the University of Salford to study Drama and Creative Writing. However, quite soon into this course, I realised my love for drama was a hobby, and I had confused it with my career path.

At this point, I had also realised that university was not my cup of tea either, and despite what others thought about this, I left to figure out who I was and what career I wanted to pursue. Some people may look at this and assume I gave up university, and even my nana made the comment: ‘You’re not cut out for university like your sister’. Although this put me down about my decision, I carried on with what I believed would make me happier. Doing this also made me realise that no matter what you decide to do, people will judge and compare you. But this is your life; you make the decisions.

Many of us will experience relationships that don’t fulfil our wants and needs, and to give up an unhealthy relationship is a great achievement for someone (in my eyes). I guess I would have this opinion as I gave up a relationship very recently; it wasn’t unhealthy in the sense of being treated bad, but it was unhealthy mentally for me. Lasting for almost 6 years seemed like a big achievement for us, but him keeping me a secret for all that time did not. I gave this relationship up due to this, as it made me feel insecure and unwanted, but now I’m doing much better on my own; finding my independence again and realising my self-worth. The truth is, everyone wants a love story, and if that means giving up someone who doesn’t make you happy to find your soulmate, then go for it.

Giving something up to become a better person, or to live a happier life is admirable. See it as a positive.

Chelsea Royle, Cohort 31, Digital Marketing Apprentice at Housing Units


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