We all might intellectually know that we shouldn’t settle for less than we deserve, both in love and in life, and often we might not even know that we have. I should say right off the bat that settling is in no way a defect of character. When we settle for something, we’re still making a choice, and that is inherently powerful—even when it’s based on limiting thoughts and beliefs.
Acknowledging that you have settled—be it in a career or a relationship—can be a very tender realization. Getting clear about where you’re settling is an essential first step and takes courage and vulnerability. It is also a brilliant opportunity. It is the first step to creating a fulfilling, purposeful life. One that is designed by your unique gifts and potential—something that we all deserve!
Over the years, I have supported many people through the realization of settling, and often, it’s the smallest changes that resulted in the biggest experiences of growth, positive change, and renewed passion. If you think you may have settled in a particular area of your life, here are a few ways to get out of that land of “almost” and “good enough” and onto a path of transformation.
Get Really Honest
Awareness is always the most potent place to start when seeking positive change. Becoming aware of the areas where we need to grow sets us up for precise and consistent action steps—a vital aspect of success in any endeavor. Take a moment to access the significant areas of your life; career, health, and relationships. How do you feel about each? Notice if anything thoughts arise that sound like this:
“It’s not the relationship of my dreams, but who has that?”
“My career isn’t what I’d love to be doing, but it pays me well.”
“Everything feels fine. Maybe I don’t need to change.”
The experience of “good enough” is exactly as it sounds. It isn’t terrible, nothing is on fire, but also… nothing is on fire. There isn’t excitement or drive, no passion or motivation. Journal for a moment about where you are experiencing “good enough” and see what you discover. No judgment. Just exploration.
Decide What You Want
Okay, you have an idea now of where you’re settling. That’s great! The way out of the Land of Almost, as I call it, is accepting that you’re there. Now, bring that area of your life into clear focus and begin to meditate on what it is that you genuinely want in this area. Again, this is explorative; just let your mind and heart dream.
Perhaps you have a high-paying corporate job, but what you really want to do is teach. Maybe your marriage is stable and consistent, but you all-too-secretly wish for more fun and spontaneity. Perhaps you marvel at marathon runners or ballroom dancers or yoginis but have decided that you just aren’t “athletic.”
See where I’m headed with this? The Land of Almost is actually fertile ground for mining your true desires. Name what you want, let go of the “how” for a moment, and just let yourself feel your desire. It feels good, right? If it doesn’t spark joy, dig deeper until you feel those sparkles. Got it? Congratulations! You just decided what you want.
Now Commit 100%
Making real commitments makes our lives easier and cultivates simplicity. Decisions become easier to make; there is no longer a fear of missing out on something better because what you’re doing or making is of real value. Commitment gives everything a deeper meaning.
If you’re longing for a relationship that is deeply loving, conscious, and inspiring, then commit 100% to giving your all every day. Give yourself a year to bring as much love, compassion, support, and fun and see how it changes. It will go one of two ways: you will have transformed your relationship from the inside out, or you will be painstakingly clear that it’s time to move on with grace.
If you want a career doing something that you love, make a commitment to finding as many ways to do it as you can. Don’t be afraid to start small. If you long to teach, find a class you can teach once a week. If you dream of writing a novel, start by carving out 30 minutes a day to write. Commit strongly in the direction of your dreams, and you’ll be amazed to see how your life changes, slowly and then completely.
At the end of the day, what keeps us settling is a fear of the unknown. We believe that an even more uncomfortable situation awaits us, and this becomes the reason for staying in the job or the relationship, which is a disaster in the making. Taking the above steps will help you to avoid this trap and, if you have already fallen into it, gently but powerfully bring yourself out.
Yes, it might be scary, but remember that courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear; it means acting despite it. Living courageously allows you to make changes now.
It isn’t easy to admit that we have settled, but it is can be a vital first step in manifesting the love we genuinely want. If you think you may have settled, what steps can you begin to take to shift your situation? What fears are standing in your way?