I’ve been thinking a lot about settling recently and wanted to write about it because quite frankly, I see a lot of you doing it. I’ve done it too- a lot. Let’s stop that, okay? I’m not only referring to romantic relationships- but relationships with friends, family, and ourselves.
I won’t say we only live once, because I don’t believe that- BUT I do believe that we should stop wasting time in this life on things and people that don’t serve us well.
I wish I could message you all individually and tell you this because I think when we are IN it, we don’t see it. We can’t see that we are settling for less than we deserve in a relationship- because when you’re in the relationship bubble and have hopes for the future, you can’t actually see that the relationship isn’t what it should be. Does that make sense?
I HATE that meme going around that says “Marriage is hard, divorce is hard, choose your hard”. I hate it because most of us enter the relationships that turn into marriage when we’re young- and when you’re young you can’t see what you will want and need in the future. Being comfortable with someone doesn’t mean they are the right person for you. Being comfortable sometimes just means that you’ve given up on what you want, and you’re tolerating things because you’re used to them. Maybe you’re co-dependent and feel like you can’t live without them- but you can. Marriage is hard, but being with someone who isn’t right for you just because you can’t imagine how much better life can be is harder.
I see you. If you’re reading this and wondering if I’m talking about YOU, I am. You with the mediocre relationship. With the partnership that isn’t equal and leaves you feeling stressed and invisible. You are my friends, family, and strangers I follow on social media. I see you. I see you struggling with work and balancing being a parent with no help from your partner at home. I see all of the responsibility of everyday life being placed on your shoulders because your significant other refuses to be an equal partner despite seeing you struggling. I see you making excuses over and over for how poorly they treat you.
I think that one major thing, aside from being comfortable, that keeps people in bad relationships is a shame. It’s embarrassing to end a marriage or long-term relationship. It feels like you’re disappointing the people in your life who supported your relationship over the years. My ex-husband and I broke up in 2015, so I feel like looking back I can offer some perspective on this aspect of separating- and I can admit that I was embarrassed. Even though I knew deep down that us separating was the right thing to do, I couldn’t stop thinking of all our friends and family. All of the time invested. All of the people who would have opinions when they found out our marriage wasn’t going to continue. “But what will people think?” was a constant thought running through my mind. A few years later, I can tell you- it doesn’t matter AT ALL what people think (although our friends and family were incredibly supportive anyway). It reaches a point where it’s no longer about time invested, it’s about time wasted. The important people who’ve supported you as a couple over the years will still be in your life separately after. If someone doesn’t support your want and need to be happy and fulfilled, you don’t want them in your life anyway.
I won’t talk negatively about my past relationships here, but I will say that had we stayed together, we would have been settling for a life that neither of us wanted.
It’s hard to even begin trying to give advice on relationships because I’m not an expert- at all. When I look back at myself, I can see that I’ve come so much further than I thought I would. I guess my hope in even talking about this is to make anyone reading this who may be in the wrong relationship realize that even though change is scary, it’s worth it- and you deserve happiness.
This also applies to dating- stop giving second, third, and fourth dates to people who don’t deserve your time, just because you’re afraid of being alone. Someone once said to me “Don’t put up with a boy any longer, you’re a queen and you deserve a real man, he will regret losing someone like you. He isn’t mature enough to handle what you have to offer, if he thinks you’re too much he should go find less. If he can’t see all the good that you are, it’s his loss, not yours. Don’t let anybody bring you down. EVER!” – That hit hard and he was right, so right! ♥
Anyone who doesn’t deserve your time, shouldn’t have access to it.
I’ve been a pushover my entire life, and I tend to be nice to people even when they don’t deserve it. I’ve stayed friends with people when I shouldn’t have. I like to think that everyone “deserves” kindness, but if someone repeatedly treats you poorly, what are you gaining by continuing to allow it? I made a vow to myself a little while ago that I will not settle with the friendships I hold, and I’ve stuck to it.
If anyone is unkind to you, only focuses on themselves, and basically sucks the soul out of you every time you speak to them, you do NOT need to be their friend. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been friends with them for decades. If they don’t contribute anything positive to your life and refuse to talk about it when you try to repair things, just cut the cord. I know it’s so much easier said than done, but negative energy is SO draining. Some people are just black holes that pull everything around them into their darkness, and we don’t need that. When this person is a family member, it’s not always as simple as “cutting the cord”, but boundaries in that kind of situation are so important.
The “settling” friendships are the ones that make you feel worse after every interaction with them. You feel drained after talking to them. You don’t like things they do or how they act towards you, but still, allow it to continue. You don’t owe anyone friendship.
Really, the key to not settling in any situation is self-love. Loving and respecting yourself enough to remove yourself from negative situations is key. So that brings me to self-care.
I’m adding in a bit about self-care, because I think a lot of us get into a routine where we do the bare minimum for ourselves, and it doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t settle for the bare minimum when it comes to loving and taking care of yourself. The relationship you have with yourself may be the most important one of all, and it’s so important to nurture that relationship. This last year for me has been a huge turning point for self-care. Some things I’ve personally started doing are:
- Guided meditations. I try to do at least one guided meditation per week. There are a lot of great ones on YouTube or Spotify!
- Creating a solid skincare routine. I’ve always been into taking care of my skin, but I didn’t have a solid routine in place until this year.
- Drinking more water. I know, I know, we’re all aware of how much water we need to be drinking, but I was in a routine of drinking more coffee than I was water at one point, which wasn’t good. I’m still working on balancing that one.
- Getting outside more. I have a very active German Spitz, so I’m outside with her often- but just getting outside more, in general, has been really important.
- Treating myself to little luxuries. The main beauty treats I like to get done is my nails. If possible, make a little room in your budget to get new clothes, get your hair done, lashes, etc. It’s something small to look forward to that is a huge confidence booster, and a nice treat.
- Learning to enjoy my own company. I’ve always been the kind of person who was afraid to do things alone, but I’ve been learning to enjoy my own company more and more. I’ve gone to movies alone, I go for walks alone, and have been continuously working on being content with my own company. I feel like this was a nice step for me because since I’m totally fine being alone, I’m more choosy about who I allow in my life. If you’re a part of my life, it’s because I really want you to be.
SO HOW DO WE STOP SETTLING?
It’s easy enough to write about it, but it’s much more difficult to follow through when you’re in the middle of it. Here are some ways you can start digging deep into knowing your self-worth:
- Stop making excuses for poor behavior. I can speak from experience with this one. If you find yourself rationalizing being treated poorly by saying things like “they’re just tired, they had a long day, they’re stressed out, they aren’t normally like this” etc- you’re acknowledging that you’re being treated poorly, but you’re dismissing it. Stop dismissing it. We all get tired, we all get stressed out- those are not excuses for treating someone poorly.
- Realize that you don’t need to accept your lot in life. A lot of times we put up with less than we deserve because we’ve “accepted” our fate as what it is. You have the power to change your life at any time. This doesn’t have to be “it”. There’s no reason things can’t and won’t get better for you.
- Don’t agree to things you don’t actually agree to or want. Whether it’s being treated a certain way, doing favors for someone, putting up with poor behavior, etc – you’re showing people how they can treat you by accepting things you don’t want to accept.
- Recognize your own worth. Journaling has been a huge help with my self-love journey. There are lots of different self-love journal prompts out there on Pinterest to get you started.
- Set boundaries, and don’t allow them to be crossed.
- Create a plan. Once you realize that you don’t have to and don’t want to settle, come up with a plan to better your life. If it’s self-care, you can work on changing your routine up and implementing little changes here and there. If it’s friendships, start evaluating how people make you feel, and determine if you want to work on improving it with them. For relationships, dig deep to figure out what you really want, what makes you happy, and what you want your future to look like.
Just remember your worth, guys!