Giving up

There are a lot of negative connotations associated with the phrase ‘give up’ or ‘giving up’. Giving up seems defeatist and therefore those who give up are deemed losers. Praise is reserved for those who ‘fight for it’ or ‘fight back’ or ‘die fighting’.
There was a rape victim in the US, who in the middle of being raped asked her rapist to wear a condom. When the case reached the courts, the perpetrator’s counsel said that since the victim was no longer putting up a fight and had in fact asked the perpetrator to wear a condom, it was no longer a rape case, but consensual sex. In a milestone decision the court adjudicated that the victim was incredibly brave that in spite of being in a violent situation not of her making she had the presence of mind to not make it worse for herself. Instead of fighting what was a lost battle, in which she could have well lost her life, she came up with a solution that would protect her from further, irreparable damage in the form more violence, possibly pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In the last year of her life my mother gave up on the fight against cancer. I watched her face grow more luminous as she accepted her impending death and started putting her affairs in order. She lived with me for the better part of the year, so she taught me a lot of my favourite recipes, played with my daughter, finished all the paperwork- nominations, closing of accounts, FDs, transferring of lockers and so on. When she died, her papers were in such meticulous order, that we had little or no trouble in closing all the loops. The gratitude I feel for her, even in death thinking about us, is immense. But that space for thinking ahead, creatively, empathetically came only when she accepted that she was dying.
Giving up is not a bad thing. It in many ways is about not wasting one’s breath on a lost cause. An acceptance of what is. In that we find not only succour, but also the seed of creativity, of hitherto un-thought-of solutions. Of trying something new.
When we give up on love or life or losing weight or finding friends or just fighting constantly to merely survive, we give the body and mind time to rest. Perhaps these doors will remain closed and giving up allows us to give up the illusion of control. Or maybe solutions will emerge. Will it be so bad that we stop torturing ourselves with impossible expectations and stay content in the present?
Giving up is giving up the weight of expectations. Giving up is forgiving. Giving up is resting. Giving up is peace.

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