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You Get What You Settle For

Settling is about a trade-off – accepting something lesser than what may be ideal, in order to fulfill a need, usually in the shorter term.

But why do we settle for what we do? I think there are a lot of reasons, and not all of them are bad, but some can definitely reveal a lot about how we view ourselves. (There is the opposite end of the spectrum, too – an unreasonable sense of entitlement – feel free to learn about some extreme examples here, but more on that in another post.)

  • We settle for marrying a psychologically/verbally/physically/financially abusive or addicted partner because we feel if they won’t marry us, no one else will.
  • We settle for casual sexual encounters, even though what we want is a committed relationship, because we are lonely.
  • We don’t stick up for ourselves or others when there is abuse or bullying because we don’t want to lose a relationship, even if it’s a crappy one, again, because we are lonely, want to fit in, or think we deserve to be treated poorly.
  • We settle for the mini-van instead of the sports car, because it’s the best thing for transporting the kids to their activities.
  • We settle for a lesser paying job that we enjoy and that gives us more time with our loved ones, instead of a high-paying job that leaves us no spare time and stresses us unreasonably.
  • We settle for a slightly higher interest rate on a fixed mortgage rather than a cheaper variable one, so we can better manage a budget.

Settling isn’t necessarily bad, if it is done for the right reasons. But if settling involves giving away important parts of yourself, or putting up with abuse, in order to “meet” emotional needs, it can be very damaging and will perpetuate a nasty downspiral of self-esteem – self-esteem that probably isn’t at an ideal level to begin with.

So what have you settled for in your life that turned out not to be a good trade-off? What were you feeling at the time you made that decision?

I will share a little more about my own journey in my next post.

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