I was in Chapters this weekend, browsing the wellness and self-help sections (my favorite sections of the bookstore ever since I can remember) when I came across a book that really triggered an emotional response in me – I won’t get into the name and author, but essentially the point of the book was an argument for the ‘advantages’ of settling for “Mr. Good Enough”. And “settling” in general.
Hence the inspiration for this post. The author’s main point (from what I could gather in 10 minutes of flipping through the highlights) was that part of the reason we (particularly women) are so unhappy these days is that in a world so full of excess, our expectations have gotten too high. Essentially we want too much out of life. Hence… we over scrutinize men, holding out for a perfect ideal that we may never meet and hence may end up old and alone. I’m sorry but….I couldn’t disagree more.
The idea of finding the perfect man vs a healthy and fulfilling relationship is a whole other topic, today I want to talk a little more about the idea of settling. The issue of “settling” has always been something I’ve been very conscious of, I’m not sure why, but it’s one of those things that even as a teenager I became very aware of. From the time I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the question of why some people grow up to lead extraordinary lives and others settle for average.
Now, this is obviously subjective. What is average for one person, could be extraordinary for another. The real barometer is your own degree of happiness and fulfillment with life. Only you can answer that. Perhaps more accurate than using the term “average” is the idea of mediocrity. It’s settling for middle ground, when you are capable of more. I believe that as human beings, we are born infinitely capable, creative and talented. We are put on this earth to experience the joy and excitement that comes from living out our fullest potential.
I think as children the reason our dreams are so big is because we are still tapped into our true nature. It’s only in the process of becoming adults, through years of conditioning by well-meaning parents, teachers and society that we begin to operate from a place of fear and doubt, as opposed to courage and possibility.
As human beings, growth is our nature. As much as we fear change and resist challenge, it is usually in situations that stretch us, that we feel the most alive, that we strengthen our character, and achieve extraordinary results. The innate human spirit in each of us longs to experience the world, to feel true happiness, peace and joy. It’s what makes us feel alive.
When we adopt a mentality of settling for “good enough”, our spirit is left deflated; we lose our spark and zest for life. More importantly, we send out a message to the universe that we don’t want better, a belief that is rooted in fear and doubt – that we can’t do better or that we don’t deserve better. I believe when we settle, we give up on life.
Not everyone is meant to live their life in some large, grandiose fashion. That’s not at all what I’m implying. But all of us have the potential to be truly and completely happy, to experience all of the joys of life, to express all of our gifts and talents, and to wake up every day, inspired and excited to be alive.
There are way too many people, numbing themselves with food, television, alcohol and endless other distractions. To that extent, I agree with the author. Our world’s excess – material excess – may be partly to blame for why we’re so unhappy. But rather than lowering our expectations, of ourselves and of others, we should put down our distractions and take time to look inward and bring back some effort into living. No one says it’s going to be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. We should expect nothing but the best, from ourselves first and foremost. After all, you get back only what you put out. No more, no less.
So whatever it is that you have ever wanted for your life, check in with yourself and see how long it’s been since you’ve let yourself truly want it or believe it could happen. This is the starting point. For if you believe you can be more, have more and do more, the spirit within you won’t let you settle for anything less.
On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favourite quotes:
“It’s a funny thing about life, when you expect nothing but the best, you very often get it.”
Live Fit, Live Happy.