When Is It Time To Quit?

I want to be loved, I wish someone would love me, I hope someone someday will love me.  But I guess those things are pretty intangible; without a real person in a real time and in a real place, hopes and desires are for indeterminate objects, for imaginary things.  When I’m interested in someone, I want them to love me, which in my case means I want them to treat me like I matter, that I’m important to them, that they care about me.

The therapist says I expect them to do this – even in the face of overwhelming evidence that, at least in this one case, the person I care about is incapable of doing this for me.  I don’t know that I expect them to do this, I thought to myself – I want them to do this, I hope they will see how much I want this and that they will give me this – but to say I expect them to do this doesn’t feel quite right.

For hope springs eternal, right?  In novitiate, in one of my spiritual guidance interviews with the novice masters, one of them told me that I seemed to be someone without hope.  And at that time, I said yes, you’re quite right – I wasn’t very hopeful about anything at that time.  I experienced the majority of my life as though I was invisible, that people either didn’t see or didn’t care about whether I was happy, or sad, or anything else.  I hung on to the master’s comment as if it were a life preserver – its immediate effect was that someone DID see me (even if they didn’t care about me) and that just maybe, as contradictory as it sounds, the way out my hopelessness was to be hopeful.

Doing that on my own was incredibly difficult – antidepressants like Prozac and later selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting prescriptions helped deal with the neurophysiological part of the hurdle.  Slowly but surely, a hopeless person was becoming hopeful in spite of their hopelessness, not unlike an overweight person loses weight in spite of being obese.  There are real physical and psychological barriers that stand in the way of getting better, feeling better.

So, right or wrong, I believe in the power of hope.  In the course of my life, I have hoped that, sooner or later, someone I loved would love me, I would become a teacher, I would become a priest, my mother would love me.  But when do you decide to say, “no, I’ve tried, and it’s just not working”?  When do you realize that you’ve only been fooling yourself, that it’s time to throw in the towel, that it’s time to quit?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.