“Never settle for shitty coffee, shitty friends or shitty men.”
To settle or not to settle? The question we are all plagued with numerous times throughout our life. It is not hard to find someone in your life that’s settled on the mediocre job that just pays the bills, the “okay” significant other that doesn’t cheat, or that friend who is never there for you when you truly need them. Here is the hard thing to understand when it comes to settling on something in your life: Why?
Past experience has told us to. We have watched our family and friends take a risk that backfired. So we get scared. We hear that a coworker did something in the past that we wanted to try, but it came back to bite them. So we avoid thinking outside the bubble. We ourselves have tried something different and it didn’t work out. So we become hesitant to change. Experience has shown us not to. Our family has told us not to. Stick with what you know and nothing will change. If we keep that mindset, how are we ever supposed to grow?
It is easy to. When it comes down to following the crowd or taking the road less traveled, we tend to take the easy path. It is less frightening to go with the flow versus taking a chance. Why? Because it is risky. You’re scared of what you can lose if you take the chance. It is easy to stay on the path this is right in front of us, to know what is coming, to live a predictable life. The thing is, how are we ever going to get what we want if we keep going in the same direction we don’t want to be going in?
Security. You trick yourself into thinking good enough is good for you, even though you know it isn’t what you really wanted. You work long hours at a job you loathe, but you are good at it and know they can’t afford to lose you. You tolerate your significant other, but you know they aren’t going anywhere because you’re their everything. So you settle with what you aren’t necessarily happy with, but it is a lifestyle you know and you are comfortable with.
There are songs about it that tell us to keep on dreaming even if it breaks our heart. There are strong female characters on television, like Carrie Bradshaw, who say, “Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some won’t settle for anything less than butterflies.” There are strong, real life heroes who risk their lives for our safety and come back from war, proving every day that you do not need to settle into a life that didn’t go in the way you planned. We need to stop settling as soon as we are faced with a challenge because we shouldn’t give up on our dreams so easily.
The more I look for it, the more apparent it becomes to me. I don’t know if it is because I am more observant to it now, but it is as if I have had my eyes shut to this for so long. I see these women that I once looked to for encouragement and as strong and independent, settling into situations that just aren’t the person that they are or can be. Settling on men that lack any type of future, settling into a lifestyle that lacks ambition, settling into personalities that look like a dull glimpse of what they used to be.
Do not get me wrong, there are so many circumstances where I settled. But I am realizing what I did wrong and pushing myself to learn from my past. I settled on jobs because I was financially afraid to leave or scared to apply for the jobs I didn’t think I was qualified for. I settled on so many guys because I was blinded by their interest to realize they were no good for me and they never treated me the way I deserved. I settled on friends, thinking something could be salvaged from the wreckage, but in the end, it is when you know that you have settled that makes it easier to let go of everything that wasn’t worth it in the first place. To take a chance and say, “I’m done”. To take a chance and say, “I am ready for more”. To take a chance and say, “Let’s do this!”
But seriously, let Ryan Gosling solve all of your life problems.
Featured Image via screengrab of The Notebook