Almost everything we encounter on a daily basis involves some sort of choice. What clothes will I wear today? What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner? How many miles do I have to run if I eat this cheesecake? Should I admit to people that I’m playing the Pokemon Go game? Some decisions are very light and on the surface for us. Other decisions in life cause a great deal of stress, chaos, turmoil, and angst. Should I go to college and if so, which one? What job should I pursue for the rest of my life? Who should I marry? How many kids should I have? Where should I invest my money and how much do I need to save for retirement? THESE are the types of choices that keep us up late at night; the ones that we constantly struggle with and wonder if we are making the right choices. It can be downright frightening when we arrive upon these situations in life, but we might as well prepare for them because no life is exempt from encountering the scenarios.
There are so many ways we settle in life, and lots of times we don’t even realize it until it is too late. The great news is that once we recognize the signs and the fact that we are settling, it is a tragedy that can be reversed. We are NEVER stuck in what we find ourselves in the middle of unless we allow ourselves to remain there. WE have the power of change. WE have the power of choice. We have to stop putting off today the decisions that could and would bring a better tomorrow. We owe it to ourselves and to our dreams.
Fear of the Unknown vs. Comfort of the Known
This is the biggest reason lots of us find ourselves living out the average decisions in our lives rather than chase our dreams with passion. We know the cards we are working with right now and know the familiarity it brings, so we would much rather be comfortably guaranteed. We are terrified of change and risk taking. We constantly talk ourselves out of better because of the possibility of failure, but all that leads to is regret and living a life dwelling on what might have been. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and chase your passion without apology and without hesitation, even if you run the risk of crashing and burning.
So how do we know we are settling in life anyway? While not all inclusive, I’ve figured out a few on my own.
- We sacrifice of ourselves too much and too often in relationships – Where there is no compromise, something has to bend or break, and we can find ourselves sacrificing on our end to the point we don’t recognize ourselves anymore. There is a generation of people that think they can change the other party in the relationship as they go. They think that time will allow them to chisel the partner into what they know they need in their lives, ignoring what the partner truly is and will most likely always be at the core. This isn’t the way it is supposed to be or ever will be, and those that think time will eventually change someone will mostly find that time simply passes and the results are still the same. Time is precious and limited, so why waste it?
- You are bored, tired, burnt out, stressed out, etc – If you need an entire pot of coffee to make it through your day, it might not only be the fact that you’re not getting enough sleep. It could be a deeper fatigue of the soul, and that one requires far more than caffeine ever can provide.
- You doubt yourself – There are plenty of times we have opportunities arise that we can better ourselves, but lots of times we let them fall by the wayside simply because we don’t think we could pull it off or make it happen. We might not be able to always get what we want, but what if we do?? Stop doubting the possibility of failure and welcome the potential for success.
- You’re jealous of others – Scrolling through the Newsfeed of Facebook, it’s easy to fall into a funk seeing everyone brag about their vacation spot, their Woman Crush Wednesday, their promotion, their children’s accomplishments, and the list goes on and on. When you start to line your life up to those around you, it’s an easy marker that you aren’t happy with your own life and are settling at the core.
- You tear down the successes of others – Whenever those around you get that promotion, that perfect love story, or the children who can do anything, do you find yourself happy for them or do you rip them apart? When we’re living a life to its fullest, we will be happy for others to reach their fullest as well. When we’re living a life of mediocrity, we’re quick to try and pull everyone and everything down to our level to make us feel comfortable once again. We subconsciously teach ourselves that success is a bad thing, and our lives will fall into line with that behavior. Just because we don’t fail doesn’t mean we are succeeding.
So knowing just a few of the TONS of hints we are settling at something in life, how do we go about fixing the situation? It’s fairly easy as long as we commit to the steps often and in every aspect of life.
- Make yourself happy – Lots of people are taught this is a selfish and terrible thing, but you have to live with yourself the rest of your life. Why wouldn’t you want what is best for you and your remaining time? There are people that give of themselves so much and so often that they don’t have any energy or time to take care of themselves, and that is not ok. You owe it to yourself and your Creator to ensure a life that makes you happy as you seek God’s will for you. There is no job, possession, or soul that can make you happy unless you first make yourself happy.
- Be prepared to work hard – Sometimes the perfect job, romance, house, situation falls right into our laps, making it easy to grab a hold of (if we don’t allow doubt and hesitation to ruin it). MOST of the time, however, we have to fight for what is best for our lives constantly. When we fight for that, we must be prepared to fight the entire battle and not just until it gets too rough. All too often success is found on the other side of just about giving up. Give 110% just at the chance to get yourself where you need to be. Anything less would be unfair to yourself.
- Find accountability – We have to surround ourselves with people that are seeking the best for themselves as we embark on our own journey. Whenever we encounter struggle or failure, having those people nearby that know what we are going through may make the difference between persevering or stopping altogether. That can be a close lifelong friend, spouse, roommate, family member, or even a support group you find in your area. We need people to strengthen us on the journey. Very rarely does anyone climb Mt. Everest solo. There is power in numbers.
- Erase negativity – On the flipside of positive power in numbers, there is negativity as well. If you are around the people that are settling, you will become one of the successful ones they will tear down as you reach new heights. If they are unable to complete the journey with you and raise themselves to higher standards, they will only try and pull you back down to where they are. Sometimes letting go of someone is the hardest thing to do, but it might be the only thing to do if we are to ever find that extraordinary life.
- Be honest with yourself – It’s easy settling and being average in life. There is a lot less pain and energy spent when you’re not going against the flow and just settle into mediocrity. There are far too many of us that choose to live this life and be comfortable. When we chase our desires of greatness, we have to truthfully accept the road will be challenging, painful, and uncomfortable. If we own this knowledge, the process might truly suck, but we can enjoy the journey itself knowing there is an end goal in mind. Being honest with yourself about the journey not being just puppy dog tails and rainbows is the only way you can endure the hardship that is sure to be ahead.
When you settle, it is never without cost to the soul. It may not seem as if anything negative is going on at the surface, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that it is eroding the soul from the truest version of itself. No matter the situation in life, you wouldn’t have the longing for more if you didn’t have the power and capability to see it through to the end. At the end of the day, if risk isn’t your thing and you still are comfortable with average, it would be a lie to not include the fact that settling is definitely an option for each of us. It’s a choice you can live out, but only if you’re prepared to desperately try and ignore the “What might have beens”. You cannot go back and make a brand new beginning…but you can start NOW and make a brand new ending…