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Cut Your Losses

I felt frustrated at the way things weren’t going. Why was I not out lunching with my multitude of friends? Why wasn’t I progressing on that project? Why did I have nothing to show for all the work and hours I felt I’d invested in that… writing piece…garden…friendship? It all made me feel bad.

And then I started to think, what was that all about? Why was I expecting people to communicate with me in ways they couldn’t? Or expecting a garden or blog following to grow that I had not cultivated? Why was I so intent on having things a certain way or no way at all? The dead ends were of my construction and my head was beginning to hurt from banging into them.

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There’s something I like to refer to as the “point of diminishing returns”. When your total investment plus expectations are not paid back or the effort has outweighed the payback, you need to be done. I am aware that letting go of hope for a change can be extremely hard. Especially in instances like marriage when you value the concept and paper that the union stands on. Having already invested so much, you are unwilling to admit it was never worth it.  That was how I felt in my first marriage. But finally, I admitted defeat and left.

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Being done can seem like admitting to failure and to being human. Yet cutting your losses can also be the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself, your friend, your career, your siblings, and your marriage partner. A chance to stop expecting stuff they and you can’t deliver. To set all free from unreasonable expectations without blame. To simply say, this isn’t working for me if that is what you have discovered. No blame or shame in that game. It’s life. Perhaps the beginning to the life you’ve not allowed yourself to have thus far.

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11 Responses to “Cut Your Losses”

  1. Shalagh, I hope you’re not feeling this way about your blog. Look at all the wonderful writing that you’ve been doing! Keep up the great work. That said, I’ve had to cut losses and lower expectations in my life, which is hard for me since I am such an idealist. I truly am! I just want you to know I’m enjoying your blog a lot!

    • Shalagh says:

      Oh gosh no Amy, i’VE JUST BEGUN TO BLOG. Oops, didn’t mean the caps lock but then again, I do feel that strongly about it. I quite started this all by accident. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Except for my husband and my children of course. My writing has gotten sooooo much better. And I have made friends, you being one, who I cherish and feel buoyed by. I’m riding this wave into the shore. Shaka Brah.
      Love,
      Shalagh

    • Michelle says:

      What bumble says raises an interesting subject. Are lower expectations and cutting losses the same thing, or even related? Maybe you have just grown enough that you have different (hoping I got these italics right) expectations, or even higher or better expectations?

      And related to that is what you (Shalagh) said about marriage, etc. … admitting that it wasn’t worth it… but does walking away at any point necessarily have to mean that it wasn’t worth it? My marriages were well worth the lessons, growth, and wisdom I gained. I don’t regret the time invested. I tried and failed, but tried. I failed the marriages but passed the tests. And I’m proud of my courage in both situations. Proud of the courage to take the chance when I was afraid to. I’m sure you ladies have similar “prides” you can look back on too. Sometimes I think the test is the trying period.

      I’m just thinking aloud, these are neat questions you are raising with this blog. Is just in time for me, as I am facing a cut point myself with something and was grappling with it a bit. And the thing I don’t want to let go of, I’m not happy about letting go of, BUT – I AM happy that I caught myself obsessing! A habit I am trying to break. So that was a mini triumph in itself. When you don’t see yourself doing your patterns it’s hard to break them – they are invisible to your eyes. I’m so excited that I saw this one happening! lol!

      simple stupid pleasures make my world go round

      This is a great blog post, shalagh i will be facebooking it!!!! Glad i had a minute to read for once!

      • Shalagh says:

        Oh good stuff. Yes, I too believe that everything happens for a reason. But really, we choose a lot of it to happen. So we can figure it out. And figure out that we’re better than that or in need of something else. That’s the point to cut. Once you’ve realized you have another choice that’s better. Thank you so much. And my husband said this wasn’t a good post because there weren’t enough examples. I said, it’s a chick thing. We can see ourselves in between the ambiguous lines. And you proved me right.
        Love Ya, Michelle,
        Shalagh

  2. Stella Rose says:

    Shalagh, I think you forgot something. It takes *courage* to cut something out of your life: people, a bad habit, etc. Don’t underestimate yourself and be sure to give yourself credit. I hope you don’t think that “point of diminishing returns” = failure. It just means that the door has closed….which is fine.

    I’m so happy I found your blog. Keep on keeping on! 🙂

    • Shalagh says:

      Ah yes Ms. Stella Rose,
      I completely agree. It does take courage to let go and move on. Because on is the unknown. And the closing of some doors is a damned good thing. Release from a perpetual feeling of failure. The point of diminishing returns can in fact be a mulligan, a reset point to begin anew.
      Thanks so much for your comment and I am so very grateful to have you here.
      Love,
      Shalagh

    • Michelle says:

      AMEN. I just saw this after I posted. Great minds! : )

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