in a time when the internet reflects lives of striving and we use it to exhort each other to work harder, longer and always past the self-restricting limits we set on ourselves, i wonder why these messages are so prevalent, so shared and retweeted.

the messages are there, for every profession, every past time, every sport, every athletic undertaking. they are there for every woman, every man, every child. for our pets and for the beings and resources we bend to our will, too. they are pervasive.

read more books this month, run a faster marathon, grind more customers through your website, relax more, do more burpees, accept no excuses, take 45 yoga classes in 30 days, visit more places, eat at more restaurants, donate more food, jump higher, climb more mountain peaks, post a picture a day, tweet more often. push yourself at work, never allow your workouts to be anything less than 110% effort, spend weekends traveling, share more pictures of your very cute children (and they are!),  appear more clever.

go farther and higher and longer and faster and … never give up.

have we become the generation in unending competition with ourselves? with others? the era of you’re-only-worthy-when- you-beat-yourself-harder ? you can’t quit when it gets tough because someone who has it way rougher than you is still at it? the super-motivated competitors in a race to the finish? the cohort which chases bucket-lists and thinks that’s a fulfilled life?

is it the striving to which we’ve become attached?

i have said before that quitting often takes more courage than continuing. i recently came across a quote by nelson mandela which brings me back to this point.

“quitting is leading too” he said.

powerful words. worthy of contemplation.

they apply to all parts of our lives.

including physical activities. knowing when to walk away, when to put it down, when to smile and thank your friendly (or not so friendly) competition, when to listen to the inner voice which is not saying “i can’t” but rather is wisely saying “enough”, when to abandon the task.

we need only befriend ourselves, in a way which is compassionate and abiding. then we cannot sell short. we cannot take the easy route just because it is easy. we cannot ignore what is ours to know. we are beckoned, strongly, to listen to our bodies with a respect and caring so deep, so raw, so edgy that we know we have leaned hard into the sharp edges of our world and stopping, abandoning, dropping are actions of the warrior.