Why You Shouldn’t Settle in Life

Are you chasing your dreams?  Are you holding out for what you know you deserve and what will truly bring you happiness?  I hope so! But, most of us tend to take the safer route…we settle.  It’s easier! But, today, I want to talk to you about why you shouldn’t settle in life.

There are numerous articles that have been written about why you shouldn’t settle for a partner or a relationship.  I agree wholeheartedly with that, but I think it should extend beyond that. 

Yes, there are times when settling is necessary and not even a big deal. Trying to save money for a down payment? Then you might have to settle for the budget vacation (or no vacation at all!).  But that’s not really the kind of ‘settling’ I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about the areas of your life where you should never settle. These are the important parts of life that deserve holding out for the what you want and deserve.

For the 40+ years after you graduate from college, you will spend the vast majority of those waking hours working.  It’s a fact of life and for most of us, something we can’t avoid. Since the majority of our waking hours are spent working, we best choose something that not only interests us, but fulfills us, challenges us, and ultimately makes us happy.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

– Steve Jobs

Yes, there are circumstances that might require you to settle for a job you don’t really enjoy temporarily and that’s fine.  What’s important to remember is to use those situations as stepping stones to what you are meant to do.  Don’t settle in just because it’s easier than working towards the job or career that will give you that sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.

If you do settle, you will get to the point later in life when you will not only regret your {lack of} choice, but you’ll feel you wasted your life.
This is somewhat in the same vein as the job/career, but expands beyond just that category.  So many people forget to chase their dreams (I’ve been guilty of this myself!).  It’s easy to fall into that trap…life, work, etc. keeps you busy and finding the time to chase your dreams just seems unattainable.

But, I encourage you to not settle into a life where your dreams are delegated to the ‘I don’t have time for this’ pile. 

MAKE time for it! 

Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life. You didn’t settle for it.

Your dreams define who you are and, if you listen to them, they will give you a road map to follow to reach a life that will bring you fulfillment and happiness.
Like I said…there are SO many articles out there on not settling in a relationship, but I think this is a big one that happens more than it should. 

I don’t believe in fairy tales and I don’t believe there is only ONE single person that is our ‘soul mate’.  I think there is a type of person that is ideal for each of us, but there are many people that will fit into that type.  The trick is finding one of those people at the right time for both of you.

Society likes to paint a stigma on single people (fortunately, this is starting to fade some!).  It’s like you’re less of a person if you’re single.  While this couldn’t be farther from the truth (and basically a whole load of crap!), it’s one of those concepts that seems to be ingrained in people. 

People are terrified of being alone!

I find this heartbreaking, because that fear leads people to make choices that aren’t always in the best interest of their dreams or their lives. 

Being afraid to be alone, will more often than not, land you in a relationship that isn’t ideal for you (or both of you)

Too many people will choose to stay in an ‘okay’ relationship because they’re afraid they’ll never find someone else.  In other words, they SETTLE.

Why is this bad?

Well, besides preventing you from being in a relationship that is better suited for you, what I think is worse, is that you are preventing the other person from being in relationship that is right for them.  Everybody deserves to be with someone that loves them fully and wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.

By giving into the fear of being single and staying in a relationship that is just ‘okay’, you are preventing your partner from finding a person that truly wants to be with them and no one else (and not just because they don’t want to be alone!).  Personally, I feel this is incredibly selfish.

Never allow loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone you know you don’t belong with.

I could go on and on with this topic, but I’ll sum it up by saying this.  You may feel like you’ll be less happy on your own than in a relationship where you are settling.  If you have interests, hobbies, and confidence in yourself, I can promise you that won’t be the case.  If the relationship is the only thing that defines you, then yes, you might be happier in a dead-end relationship than on your own.  If that’s you, I encourage you to start digging deep and working on you.  You and your partner deserve better!

Where do I fall in each of these areas?
I’m not any different from you…I’m not perfect and I have definitely ‘settled’ for things in my past.  But, recognizing this behavior is the key.  Sometimes settling is one of those things you don’t really realize you’re doing until it’s too late!

Personally, I’m good on the relationship front.  I have broken off relationships because I knew if I stayed I’d be settling.  It’s very hard to walk away from those types of relationships, but I still know it was the right thing to do.  I’m not afraid to be alone and in fact I enjoy being on my own!  I would never want to be with someone that is settling for me, so that isn’t something I can do to someone else.  I deserve better and so does he.

As for dreams…I’ve started realizing more and more as I get older that I need to invest more time in achieving my dreams and that’s what I’m working on now.  You could say I’m in major planning mode right now!

And for my job/career…I like my job.  I’ve been doing it for years and I work with amazing people at a wonderful company.  But, it’s not my passion.  I can’t say too much now, but as I plan out my dreams, I’m also planning out some other possible opportunities for myself in a few years and that excites me!

3dots

So…the next time you are journaling, or working on your personal goals, I encourage you to take bit of extra time to think about these areas of your life.  Really and truly think about them.  If you sense you might be settling, assess it and start making plans to change things!

You deserve the life you want, but sometimes, you have to make changes and make some tough decisions to make that happen!

3dots

Your turn, friends!  Where do you fall on the ‘settling’ spectrum?  Have you ever recognized that pattern in your life?  What did you do about it?  Leave me a comment and let me know!
And if you’d like me to explore this topic further in future posts…just let me know!  Tell me where I can help you!

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I’ve definitely settled in partnerships when I was younger. Though I’d had many relationships before I met my husband, I felt like he was the first person who really let me be me, and loved me for the real person I am rather than their idea of me.

    And work wise, boy have I settled. I am determined never to do this ever again with a job!

    • 2

      says

      That’s awesome, Jess! I love that there was no settling at all with your husband and you know he’s definitely the one for you. I’m holding out for that!! :-)

  2. 3

    Leslie says

    I love this post, it’s so inspiring. I’m choosing not to settle as we speak. I’m trying to get everything in order. I’m single and I have been for a couple months now but I think dating someone will only get in my way for right now. Thanks for sharing & I hope your having a great day!

    • 4

      says

      Hi Leslie! I’m in the same place as you right now…I’m single, but I’m not really looking to change that because I have so much good stuff going on that I’m afraid it’ll get in the way, lol. I know it won’t always be like this, so I’m not stressing it and will focus on what I’m doing for now and will focus on that when the time is right! Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad you liked the post! :-)

  3. 5

    Mike Blakey says

    A very well thought out essay Vicky. The older we get, such feelings are much easier to express. I know for myself, I’ve always enjoyed going to work. A long time ago, I knew I wanted a career in either broadcasting or film. I wouldn’t necessarily declare that I have fulfilled my professional dreams, but I have satisfied many of my creative aspirations while being employed at a couple television networks and top notch local stations. For many reasons, I suppose, things could have worked out better, but I feel my quality of life has remained high because I’ve made it a priority to retain balance. Having a very successful career is a worthwhile goal, but, as we all know, it comes with a price. It’s a cliché, but there is much more to life than work. When it comes to personal relationships, settling leads to sadness. Even a once healthy, satisfying connection with another person can result in a civil, very respectful conclusion. As time passes, people really do change. Sometimes a person just needs to step away and re-define themselves. And, a final thought, living alone does not mean being alone. Feeling good about yourself is very satisfying. And, it translates to others. We can share experiences in so many different ways, with so many types of people. Our uniqueness is a gift. Our personal outlook, if noticed by another person, can lead to the most meaningful of relationships. And, in turn, we should look for the intangible gifts others may be passing on to us.

    • 6

      says

      Hey Mike! I definitely agree with having balance. I strongly believe in having a life outside of work and nobody would ever accuse me of being a work-a-holic, lol. I always stress to those that report to me to have a life outside of work, use their vacation days (we have to use them or lose them), and not to work too many nights & weekends. It’s all about balance and keeping priorities realistic. With that said, I think it’s important to still like what’s going on in your life and get some sense of fulfillment out of it. Sounds like you’re doing things right! Thanks for reading through and leaving a very thought out and awesome comment! :)

  4. 7

    says

    This post is so so good, Vicky! Settling is like giving up, in a way. While there’s a fine line between contentness and apathy sometimes, having a little fire under your butt to give pushing you forward – even if that means challenging yourself more – could work serious (and unexpected) wonders. I tweeted this one! Love it.

    cominguprosestheblog.com

    • 8

      says

      Exactly!! Settling is definitely giving up, only without necessarily realizing it, which makes it more sad than just plain giving up! Thanks for the tweet!! :-)

  5. 9

    says

    I love this post! I’m definitely against settling for anything less than what’s best for me, although sometimes I wonder (in the relationship spectrum) if I’m just setting myself up for failure(?). I know what I want in a person, but just haven’t found it yet! :O

    • 10

      says

      I don’t think you’re setting yourself up for failure, I think you’re setting yourself up for success. Granted, there is the opposite end of the spectrum where expecting more than what is realistic can set up too high a barrier, but I think that is a whole different level than just holding out for what you know you want versus accepting what you know makes you unhappy for the sake of avoiding some other situation. You’ll get there, Farrah! I’m sure you’re so busy with Med school right now, but you’ve got plenty of time and so many opportunities down the line where you’ll meet tons of people :).

  6. 11

    Taylor Yates says

    Love this post Vicky! I really like how you closed it with your personal progress…sometimes if bloggers just tell me what I should do without including their own stories, it feels sort of impersonal. Thank you for sharing your own experiences!

    acupoftay.com

    • 12

      says

      Thanks Taylor!! I’ve been guilty of the not providing personal info in my posts and I’m actively trying to get better at that! I had this whole thing written without that section when it dawned on me that this would be a perfect post to get started on some sharing, so your comment thrilled me! :).

  7. 13

    Daffney says

    I love the line about knowing in ten years that you “chose your life”. I do this a LOT but hadn’t really ever been able to put words to what I was doing, and now I can! Thank you for this post, I love little reminders in the morning :)

    • 14

      says

      You’re very welcome!! I’m a sucker for a good quote, so when I saw this one, I had to add it in (unfortunately, I couldn’t find any mention of who originally said it!).

  8. 15

    says

    I’ve definitely been settling in the past, I would just sit around and wait for good things to happen. This year I’m finally starting to work towards my dreams and hopefully I’ll be moving to another state or city this year!

  9. 16

    says

    Yessss cannot agree more! Thanks for the great reminders.
    I have a travel coffee mug that says KEEP NOT SETTLING that I carry to work everyday. It’s inspirational even just to look at. :) I do feel like as we get older it becomes easy to sell into our careers and step away from our dreams because they seem less and less possible. But it’s more often our negative self talk and disbelief that stop us than anything else. It’s hard work to fight settling! It’s hard not to fall back into it, but the best things in life happen when we don’t!

    • 19

      says

      I hear you, Allison!! It is definitely tough to walk away from a job that is very secure that you don’t hate and to walk out into the unknown!

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