There have been two experiences that have shaped my views on the concept of settling. My less than ideal marriage and my great, but less than ideal employment.
I won’t speak negatively about my marriage but what I will say is that there were many important things that were lacking a solid foundation. Things that were not only essential for a healthy relationship but were important individual needs for me. Rather than push for these things I settled for what was and eventually the marriage fell apart.
As far as my job is concerned, I loved what I did. But there were a lot of aspects of the job that were lacking. The long hours, the extremely high demands, the low pay, the negative interactions between management and staff. My qualifications and personal/financial needs demanded that I seek other employment. Or at the very least attempt to create the type of work environment that I needed. Instead I got comfortable, settled, and my placidity was repaid with being laid off.
In both these cases I settled for something in order to keep it and still ended up losing it. I cheated myself–and for what? For a comfortable yet unhappy situation.
I’ve observed that settling is a common practice. Most often it’s done so that a person can say they have something or someone, or in order to keep something or someone. In those circumstances a person may end up not even keeping the thing/person they settled for or if they do, they are unhappy.
Life has taught me that there is little reward for settling. You rob yourself of so much when you do and when your space is filled with the less than ideal it leaves no room for the ideal. I’m of an age where I would rather hold out and go without than to settle for less than what I deserve or want. It’s not always an easy thing to do but I will admit that it leaves me less frustrated, more content, and pretty much at peace.
A few weeks ago someone tweeted the following:
Don’t get caught up in the comfort of being unhappy
The wisest bit of advice I’ve seen in a long time.
So as I push forward with love and career I keep my life lessons and those words in mind. I’ve come to the decision that I will not enter into any romantic relationship if it’s anything less than how I want it. Regardless of how many interests I have or how badly I may want that person. And as far as career goes, part of having education and experience is to provide one with choices. The days of taking on employment because I have to are long gone. I’m perfectly willing and able to wait until my ideal job offer comes along.
Choosing not to settle also means choosing to be in control of your own happiness. We may not be able to control much in our lives but we can at least control that.