We hear this all the time. “Stop settling!” Whether it be in a job, relationship, friendship, or whatever the case might be.
Disclaimer: Quite frankly, no matter what I say in this post, someone really isn’t going to take action until they are truly ready to, but this subject is very near and dear to my heart so I wanted to talk about it.
Maybe because I’ve been there. I understand that “settling” is comfortable. But comfortable doesn’t equal true happiness.
You may not even be “unhappy”… at least not all of the time.
But you may not know what you would do or where to start without that job… or without that person that you have been with for so long. It’s a part of your identity.
“How can I let go of that completely?” “What are people going to think if I leave?” “What about _____ (insert my children, my mother, my pastor, or any other person you worry about)?” “How will I survive without that piece of me?”
And of course all of the “what if’s”… what if, I end up being even less happy? What if I fail? What if I make the biggest mistake of my life? What if “this” is as good as it gets… a lot of people have it worse than I do?
If any of this sounds like you, please, please do not listen to those stupid little voices of self-doubt. It’s just fear!
Fear of the unknown.
Fear that is holding you prisoner.
A prisoner of your own happiness!
Listen. You know if you are truly unhappy or just bored. There’s a difference. If you’re bored, get a new hobby, change jobs, go on a date, try something new, read a book… but if there is a burning actual desire to be your own boss as a marketing consultant and you’re stuck in a job as a salesperson doing something you absolutely hate. (Of course there needs to be a plan of action and steps to get there, but fucking do it!) No job is going to be better until you do what you were made to do, what really sets you on fire!
If you are in a relationship because it’s comfortable but you truly don’t even get along or know why you are with that person… or my absolute worst reason I hate to hear… I stay because of the kids… please, please do yourself and kids a favor and get out of that marriage. Kids seeing a damaged relationship just exposes them to what a marriage really shouldn’t even look like. I honestly wish there were more positive examples for kids growing up, but I believe a lot of people in the generations before mine were used to settling far too much, which made it a standard for my generation to think was “normal.” There’s a difference between fighting for a marriage and trying to make something work that probably should’ve not happened in the first place, if you are really being honest with yourself.
From my own experience, I was in a long-term relationship with a man that I truly loved. He was my best friend. Sometimes we argued, but I didn’t think it was out of the ordinary and it wasn’t an abusive relationship. We didn’t have affairs. We even supported each other and lived a good life together. At times we were happy. On the outside, to many, it probably looked like a perfect marriage. A lot of friends and family were shocked when I told them we were getting a divorce a few years ago. We weren’t happy. I think I told them we just out-grew each other. But really, we weren’t ourselves. I don’t think either of us even knew what that was when we got married or even what we wanted in life. But we loved one another and tried so hard to make the other one happy that it just made us both miserable. Besides that we lacked even basic communication. Not being able to tell someone how you feel. Hiding things. Not being able to be who you are out of fear and not communicating is a recipe for disaster in a relationship.
It eventually came to a point in our marriage that we were just going through the motions. When he brought up about seriously wanting a divorce. I was floored. We talked about it before in anger, but he was serious this time and I knew it. I did a lot of self-work for the next months. I could’ve done the “pitty me” or got angry and blamed him… but I didn’t. I looked at myself, changes that needed to be made and tried to see the positive in things. I counted my blessings instead of looking at the negative. Yes, it was still hard and sad at the time. And it took some time but I finally realized that this really was the best for both of us.
That wasn’t the end of course. We both experienced a lot of different emotions, and there were many times I could’ve even probably went back or tried other options than divorce. But once I realized inside and was honest with myself that neither of us would be happy in this marriage, I knew I had to face my fears of being on my own, of my sexuality and really my first time “coming out” with liking women as well, and of not being with my best friend and person I’ve been with for so long. And that I did.
Was it hard? Yes.
Was it one of the hardest things I’ve ever done? Possibly.
Were there times I broke down? Yes.
Were there times I wanted to run back? Yes, but I didn’t. Because I KNEW!
Was it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely.
I am happier than I ever have been! (If you don’t believe me, just ask my co-workers, family and friends. I’ve been told I was quite the bitch before lol. It surprised me to hear what a bear I was at work. But being unhappy shows more than you think.)
I learned so much about me through that healing process. I took time for myself and figuring out what makes me tick. Who I really am. I didn’t have anyone to answer to but myself. It sounds cliche’ but you can’t really love someone until you love yourself. It took me over 30 years to figure out who that person really is and to accept and love her. And not to make excuses for her or try to be something I’m not.
I didn’t expect in the process that I would find the love of my life… but I guess that’s how things work out. The right one comes along when you least expect it. I’ve never felt a connection so strong from the start and only grows day-by-day. She has helped me more than she even knows. And most importantly, she accepts me for me and loves who I am – all of the good and bad.
So trust me when I say, I understand that comfortable is easy, but it’s certainly not happy. Don’t live the one life you’re given for other people or not being able to be your true self. If you’re unhappy. Do something about it!
“Fear, uncertainty, and discomfort are your compasses towards growth.” – Celestine Chau