On a long overdue phone check in with one of my mentors, she dropped a boulder sized piece of wisdom in my spirit. We were fleshing out the whole making poor choices in life thing. “We just choose to settle instead of being selective,” she said. So after I told her I was stealing that for my next blog, I spent another week chewing on this notion that yeah, women do spend quite a bit of time making allowances in their lives. The casualties of those decisions are usually at the expense of self. I thought about the many ways we tend to settle as women not just in the obvious ways but in the subtle, soul-stealing instances where inch by inch we find ourselves trading in our very essence for emptiness.
Settling in the workplace. If you know your worth and you know your skill sets, there’s no reason why you should dim your light to make the next person look or feel good. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for collaboration and teamwork in an organization. After all, it’s the driving force for the better of the collective. But if I could go back and undue each time I bit my tongue rather than spea up for myself, I just know my success in some work spaces would have been more meaningful. Taking one from the team is settling. Covering up for someone else’s mistake is settling. Pretending you don’t know just so you won’t offend anyone in the room is settling. Opting not to show your true talents is settling. If they don’t appreciate what your bring to the table, bide your time, build your network base and bounce!
Settling in your quality of life. I won’t waste the characters needed to prove our roles as women is INDISPENSABLE. Our aging parents know it. Our children know it. Our significant others (better) know it. So when we habitually fade out when it’s time to care for self, just know that it’s detrimental to the survival of self and ultimately our loved ones. I can’t tell you how many women I encounter who think of self as dead last. The therapist in me goes on red alert when I hear and see moms who don’t remember the last time they went somewhere alone. Daughters, caring for parents who have not breathed in some air in total silence. Wives who have not allowed themselves the space to step away if for just one moment. You settle when quiet time/mediation/time alone isn’t part of your routine. You settle when an exercise routine isn’t part of your regimen. You settle when you can’t remember the last trip you took to someplace without the word Disney in it. You settle when you feel guilty for wanting to be self-involved; even if it’s for a finite and brief moment in time. Call your village. Plan ahead. Carve out some time for yourself.
Settling in your relationships. So I know you may have preferred a whole blog on “settling for the wrong man” but that horse is deader than dead. Again. Not enough characters. Relationships, be they amorous, platonic, your clique, your crew, your whatever, can either serve to bring added value or drain you. Remember those middle school spats? The “he say, she say” drama-filled issues that lasted all year long? The ones where no one even remembers how it started? Well…we’re all “growed” up and the spats have evolved into epic shade and truly petty behavior. When people tell me their “friend” have been causing them all types of stress for some years now, I tend to wonder how far we have come from the real definition of friendship. Friends don’t ignore your boundaries and violate your trust. Friends don’t leave you defenseless when others attack. Friends don’t let you go out looking any kinda way. Okay. That last one I had to throw in there. But you get my point. You settle when you accept disappointment without change. You settle when you ignore the red flags and refuse to speak up. You settle when you accept poor behavior and don’t expect change. You settle when you don’t allow time and space for crucial conversations. Speak your piece. Identify your non-negotiables. Exit stage left when you’ve done all you could.
Unbury yourself from compromising and losing who you are, all for the sake of keeping the peace or maintaining the status quo. You’re better than that. You deserve better than that.
How have you settled in life? What are some steps you’re taking right now to turn the tide on that?