G-d forbid we settle. Settle for the wrong life partner, the wrong job, the wrong draft (in other words deciding a draft is the final one before sending it off to the editor or press).
This fear relates to settling in a way that makes it seem as though the situations we are ‘settling for’ are frozen, never changing, except in the sense that they will eventually cause us to languish.
In terms of relationships, this belief lays the responsibility for our own happiness squarely at somebody else’s feet, where it doesn’t belong.
It also makes decision-making next to impossible. This is because of the pressure thinking things can’t change puts upon any decision. We are no more responsible for a success than we are fully to blame when things don’t work out. Life is bigger than that, meaning us.
The mind of indecision says that a choice that turns out badly was a choice badly made. This creates a purely antagonistic relationship to reality because it presupposes we can control everything.
In truth, if we are intellectually and spiritually curious in our approach to life, we can’t settle. Instead, given the circumstances we’ve created, we stretch. In a relationship, we stretch to understand and find mutually agreeable solutions. We stretch when we hold our temper and do not allow a disagreement to turn adversarial. We stretch when we fulfill another’s desire even when we don’t share it. We stretch when we have the courage to be honest yet kind with the other about our own desires and frustrations. We stretch to get our way, but we can also stretch as we adjust to not having it.
Relationships are dynamic in this way. As soon as someone refuses to keep stretching in the ways that align with our most important values, that’s a sure sign that it’s time for the relationship to end. It doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your life by choosing to be in it.
I am fond of saying ‘when you know better, you do better.’ There is no room for shame or remorse if you accept this as fact. If you accept this as fact, it free’s you to take necessary risks, the risks that will allow you to stretch and grow in ways you could not have possible imagined.
Disappointment is the difference between your expectations, your agendas, and reality.
Knowing this, we can recognize disappointment as the opportunity to stretch.
Before you upend your life or become overwhelmed by some decision remember: the alternative to stretching is settling into dissapointment.
I invite you to consider that staying disappointed rather than embracing growth is the only thing people ‘settle for’.
What do you think?