When to Hold, When to Fold

In this game we call Life, knowing when to hold’ em and knowing when to fold’ em is the million-dollar question. Just ask Kenny Rogers since he liked to sing about it so much.

From a very early age we are taught to never give up. Ever. No matter how hard things get, how rough the road, how choppy the sea, how sick you become at the thought of continuing on with… <insert your own perceived challenge here>, we must NEVER, EVER GIVE UP.

I can understand this logic as it applies to many things. When your child is struggling with Math and they just need to hang in there and give it some more time and effort. Or when a relationship hits a rocky patch (as inevitably happens) and both parties need to try a bit harder.

But sometimes I think this “NEVER GIVE UP” black and white thinking can cause us a lot of unnecessary anguish and trouble. Especially when something threatens our very wellbeing — mentally, physically or otherwise. Perhaps staying in a toxic or abusive environment for too long… or wasting precious years and energy on people incapable of change… investing heavily in endeavors that are seemingly bound for nowhere.

I think there are times when “folding”—as unpopular as it may sound in our highly-driven-claw-our-way-to-the-top society—is the healthiest choice we can make… regardless of what others think of us as a result. Times when tearing a page from Life’s Playbook, lighting it on fire and watching it burn is the best thing we can possibly do.

How do we know when that time has come? Well, your gut will have to tell you that. Everyone’s journey is different. But I can tell you from personal experience that when you’re miserable more than you are happy or you awaken daily beneath heavy blankets of depression, anxiety or fear… When the people who love you the most are the ones being consistently hurt by your inability to function as a loving, caring and giving human being… When you’ve completely forgotten the sound of your own laughter…

Maybe it’s time to fold.

Maybe it’s time to walk away, pick up a completely different deck of cards and start up a whole new game.