The capacity of quitting, of saying no, is the essence of freedom. The slave is defined by their incapacity to say no; the oppressor has cut off all viable routes of escape. In that manner, unless we are literally trapped or enslaved, we can also increase our sense of freedom in everyday life, by always remembering that we have the capacity to quit, to say no. Think of what the power to say no means: When our jobs get tough, we can always know that we’re choosing to be there, that we could quit and take the brunt of the consequences. When a romantic relationship becomes dysfunctional, we can work through the issues and go through the fights, while knowing that nobody is forcing us to stay, and that can make us not feel as helpless. When peer groups disrespect us, we can know that we could quit the group and find others who respect us more.

can be quitting “small things”

The secret here is to divide relationships up into their smaller, constituent parts. Maybe you don’t need to “quit your inlaws”, but you may wish to quit certain meetings and shared rituals, or certain responsibilities that have been heaped on you. If you do it sooner rather than later, and communicate well around it, everyone will be better off for it in the long run. Maybe you can keep that friends’ group, but skip beer on every Thursday and Friday, if it doesn’t serve your life the way it once did. Maybe you need to quit certain topics of discussion. Maybe you need to quit a certain role at your job, but not the job itself. Maybe you need to set a boundary around a certain kind of behavior that others are subjecting you to; then you just quit that bad part of the relationship, and you keep and strengthen the rest of it.

the more you can quit, the more you can commit

In other words, the better the adult self is at quitting, the more the authentic child can roam freely and commit more deeply, to greater and more universal things. When the inner child commits, the heart commits, and there is real connection, tuning in to life, resonance. That makes music beautiful and life worth living. You can go deeper into the labyrinth if you know how to get out again. This is another version of what I previously called “the sound of both- ands clapping”: two opposites are conjoined: a greater capacity to quit fosters deeper commitment. Commitment without the inner child, without the heart’s longing for joy, is a forced commitment, and it cannot be genuine. When we commit while disconnecting from our own inner spark, our sense of responsibility becomes hollow. In the name of responsibility, one part of ourselves is oppressing another. We’re being bad parents, tyrannical parents, to our own inner child.

from Hanzi Freinacht - Book - 12 Commandments For Extraordinary People To Master Ordinary Life by Hanzi Freinacht

related: boundary setting