There are a lot of things that motivate people to stick with something. Having a primary reason not to give up can help you dig deep and develop the grit to hang in there, even when things get tough. For some people, having a purpose helps them stay focused. For others, it may be a deep connection or passion for whatever they are doing.
Being motivated is important. Motivation can come from within, or it can come from others who are connected to your projects, activities, etc. When your motivation is positive, it can be a powerful encourager to keep going, but what happens when your inner thoughts or the people closest to you use guilt and shame as a motivation?
Guilt and Shame Are Powerful Motivators
One of the leading reasons people stick with things that don’t serve them is the feeling that they should stick with it. This feeling can come from within or be transmitted by others. Sadly, guilt and shame tend to be powerful motivators. The problem is, sometimes quitting really is the best decision, but feeling guilty or ashamed about it keeps people hanging on, even when it does more harm than good. Here are three ways guilt and shame keep people from quitting, even when they should.
People want to avoid rejection
Nobody likes feeling rejected. When people fear they will lose the respect or favor of others, they may adopt their opinions as their own. Instead of making the best choice for themselves, they allow the influence of others to make their decisions. This can include whether or not to stick with something.
It’s important to base your decisions on what’s best for you, regardless of other people embracing it or not. If someone is making your acceptance contingent on doing things their way, it’s time to evaluate if their acceptance is really in your best interest or not.
People don’t want to feel judged
The rumor mill is powerful. Being the topic of discussion can be painful and it’s easier to toe the line and go with the flow rather than be judged by others.
No one really knows what the details of your life are. Their judgements are often based on misinformation or gossip. Focus on doing what’s best for you and realize people are judgmental regardless of what decisions others make. In the end, you need to do what’s best for you and those closest to you.
People feel badly about failure
Admitting something isn’t working isn’t always easy. When people take a leap of faith, they are gambling those things will work out but sometimes they don’t. Some things fail and it doesn’t make sense to hang on out of guilt, shame, or the pain of admitting things didn’t work out.
No one wants to fail, but failure isn’t final. Failure means you tried and it didn’t work out. There are always lessons to be learned and wisdom to be had with every failure. Quitting makes room to try again.
Guilt and shame are unhealthy reasons not to quit. They don’t motivate people for the right reasons and can cause people to hold on too long when quitting is the better option.