How to Know if You Are Settling

Self-Care Blog

It’s easy to lie to ourselves by saying that life is just dandy. But, recognizing the things we want to change is necessary for achieving what we really want in life.

It’s a basic fact of life that we enjoy being comfortable. We like to think that we are capable of achieving the unachievable—which we are—but often settle for things that are “traps.” These “traps” are just placeholders for what we truly desire, and we pursue them wholeheartedly without recognizing that a particular thing isn’t what we actually long for.

So, what exactly do I mean by this? I’m talking about friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, hobbies, or whatever consumes a majority of your everyday life.

Take a minute to reflect on your life, and think about your relationships, job, and everyday lifestyle. If something specific comes to mind, reflect on that and ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Is this “thing” (relationship, job, passion, etc.) something that I am truly satisfied with?
  2. Are there areas that I am unsatisfied with this “thing”
  3. If yes, what about this “thing” could be better, or what is my ideal vision for this “thing” in my life?

Obviously, these questions only work if you can recognize ways in which the “thing” in your life isn’t making you completely satisfied. So, if you seem to think that your relationship, job, or passion is exactly what you want it to be, great. If not, keep reading.

The point of this reflection isn’t to recognize the nitty gritty faults within your life, it’s to be real and admit to yourself that something isn’t exactly how you want it. To be specific, I’ll talk about a recent realization I’ve had regarding a relationship that I was settling for.

Last November, I started dating someone at my school and things were great. It was something that I really wanted at the time, and it brought me so much joy when I was with this person. As the relationship went on, I started to realize that me and this guy didn’t really have the same values or beliefs—at all. But, somehow we made it work, and even though we recognized we were very different we kept dating. It wasn’t until several months later, almost after a year of dating this person, that I realized that this relationship wasn’t something I truly wanted. Long story short, we are no longer together—and that’s a very, very good thing.

It’s a good thing not only because I’ve been released from the anxiety and frustrations I had because of our differences. But, it’s good because I was finally able to admit that there was someone/something better out there for me. The point of all this tangent is to show that I was settling in this relationship.

I was settling by telling myself that while we might have different values we could still make it work because we enjoyed being with each other. I was settling by thinking that being in a relationship was something that I was supposed to be doing. Most importantly, I was settling by not having the guts to be on my own because it might seem a little more boring or a little more sad.

Living an ideal life is impossible, but don’t settle for something that you think you want just because it makes you happy in the moment. This can be applied to so many areas of life, and recognizing where you are settling is the first step towards achieving your best life. If there’s a job you really want, go find it. If your relationship no longer gives value to your life, end it. Life is way too short to dwell in the things that are just average.

It’s easier said than done, and it can be really difficult to things out of your life. But once you get over that hump, it can only get better. Don’t settle for things that are mediocre versions of your real dream because challenging yourself to achieve the life you want is going to be more satisfying in the long run.

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