Are you settling?
Well, I ask because I recently received a message from one of my students asking the following question:
“Hi, Natalie – I feel pretty content in my relationship. I feel loved and appreciated, and things appear to be headed in the right direction. But I can’t help but wonder if I’m settling or not. How do I really know? Is everything really as good as it seems?”
It was this message that made me wonder if others out there are struggling to know if they are settling in life. Or if they are simply content and just feel grateful for what they have.
And there’s a lot to say by even asking a question like this. Relationships are a tricky area of life to unpack. So it’s only natural to default to overthinking and wonder if things are too good to be true. Or alternatively, you may wonder if contentment is causing you to turn a blind eye to what would truly fulfill you in a relationship.
But this doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. We can sometimes become stagnant lingering in our comfort zones and forget about other opportunities that we’d like to explore.
Things may be going fine, so we avoid digging deep and asking ourselves the pressing questions that could help to uncover what we truly want.
In romantic relationships, for example, one person may not want to rock the boat by admitting that they truly want more out of the relationship. Or if things appear to be going well one person may feel like they have to settle, because things could always be worse with another person.
Now, I want to point out that in today’s world, it can be easy to constantly compare your life to others, especially based on what you see online or on social media. This can often tarnish our ability to embrace our personal definitions of happiness. So it’s important to become aware of this comparison trap to make sure you’re basing your decision on what YOU want instead of being swayed by unrealistic standards of strangers online.
To help you make this distinction, and to determine if you’re actually settling, I want to ask you a few questions:
Do you find yourself complaining about what you have rather than appreciating it?
Think about this. When you wake up in the morning, do you find yourself dreading getting out of bed, complaining about having to go to work?
If the answer is yes, then chances are you are settling. Rather than feeling grateful that you get to work and receive a steady income to support yourself, you find yourself constantly complaining about how much you hate your job.
This could mean that there are bigger dreams out there for you. And that with a little self-reflection, you may find that a whole new career path is on the horizon.
Hindsight is 20/20, so it can often be hard to see these challenges in the moment, which is why it’s a great idea to set aside time to reflect on the situation in question. Take a few moments each day to journal, meditate, or talk with friends or another trusted individual to find clarity. And remember, your intuition knows best, so make sure to listen to that voice inside!
Do you find that you have to work up, or even force excitement in various areas of life rather than experience pure joy or passion?
If the answer is yes, chances are you are settling right now. When you feel like you have to psyche yourself out to enjoy things, be it work or other activities, you just might be selling yourself short on your real definition of happiness.
Feeling like you have to fake it to make it is usually the telltale sign you are doing things for the wrong reasons. If this is the case, I suggest that you revisit your passion or purpose in life. When you’re using these as the driving force behind your decisions, you’ll usually feel an authentic sense of reward or empowerment as a result.
Do you find yourself constantly making excuses why you should keep things as is rather than going after a bigger goal or dream?
If the answer is yes, then chances are, you are settling in life. This is a big one. Because fear is often what determines the decisions we do and do not make. If we feel scared to go after what we truly want because life feels just okay or fine, we end up leaving so much of our potential on the table.
Excuses are just our inner critic trying to get the best of us. Remember, everything we think isn’t necessarily true. And our intuition is usually the best answer to all of our toughest questions in life.
So if you feel like something is missing in life and you find that you always seem to talk yourself out of what you really want, it’s time to acknowledge that you are settling.
Do you find that time and energy spent on a project or even in a relationship is what gives it its value? As opposed to joy or gratification?
This is another really big one, especially when it comes to relationships! Think about a seemingly perfect relationship between two people. Maybe you’ve been with your partner for a long time, and you, in fact, want to settle down, but your partner just isn’t ready. While everything feels good and right in the relationship, you may find yourself justifying settling because you’ve been together for so long.
Or even in a friendship that you’ve had with someone your entire life. Chances are you are settling if your commitment to the relationship is based solely on longevity. It can be easy to feel like you have to stay in a relationship or friendship because of the years invested.
But if that relationship isn’t mutually beneficial or is toxic, it’s time to look that relationship in the face and figure out if it actually makes you happy or not.
You see, intuition plays a big part in determining our happiness, and most importantly, whether we are settling for less than we deserve. And tapping into our most authentic selves requires the right tools and habits that will help you identify what you truly want.
So if you get the sense that something is off or you’re just not being fulfilled, chances are you’re probably right! And speaking of senses, my friend and expert John Assaraf and I are hosting a free masterclass that can help you reprogram your mind to reveal what matters most in life.
So if you are having trouble harnessing the right tools for more productivity, growth, and success, I encourage you to check out our free online masterclass here! It’s your chance to finally go after what you’re most deserving of. Go here to reserve your spot now!
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.