Settling? Don’t. Please.


The word has so many meanings. It’s a noun. It’s a verb.

But it seems lately, it’s one of its many meanings that makes me unhappy. Unsettled.

Perhaps I’m only perceiving this as such, but it seems as though a couple people – one of whom is family to me – seem to be settling. Not settling down. But just making do. And it’s making me upset.

It also makes me ask the question: why do people settle? Why do they stop reaching for number one and just make do with whatever (or whomever) is placed before them?

I have a family member, whom I recently found is engaged. Great, except when I hear her future beloved described to me, it makes me scratch my head. Apparently this guy was a former drug addict, has a litany of health problems, has NO job and no sort of financial support coming in, and doesn’t seem to be doing anything to help himself. And she is taking care of him while barely keeping herself above water. They weren’t together when all of this happened, which would be understandable. He was in this state when they got together.

My aunt (my cousin’s mother) hates him, and of course, instead of finding a tactful way of broaching the subject, seemed to verbally attack it head on, driving a wedge between her and my cousin in the process.

From what other little bit I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound to me as if she’s head-over-heels. It almost seems as if, at times, she’s maybe talking herself into it. I don’t know. I brought it up with a friend recently, asking, “WHY is she settling?” (Although my friend astutely suggested that maybe the question is, “Why is she taking this on?”)

Another friend had been in a relationship where it seems to me that the guy never really treated her the way she should be treated. It took her a couple tries, but they’re no longer together. She still has the odd pangs, but I think she’s doing better. (“Think” is the operative word.)

I remember reading a discussion about the subject of settling online and putting my two cents in. Someone says that some people settle because of low self-esteem. I think another suggested that people like what’s comfortable.

Perhaps I’m still extremely naive and haven’t yet been beaten down by the world to understand where people like my cousin are coming from. Perhaps she is suffering the long-term effect of low self-esteem resulting from family who have told her, for whatever reason, that she couldn’t do things, or wouldn’t be good enough. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky to be in a relatively positive environment.

I just think it’s unbelieveably sad at how much easier it is to tell someone, “You’re not good enough” repeatedly enough to make them believe it, than it is to say, “You’re good enough” and “You can do it” enough to elicit just as much influence.

And I wonder if there can be any way to change or reverse this. It’s a momunental, likely impossible thought to answer.

But – and I don’t know where exactly this comes from … perhaps my upbringing … but you shouldn’t just put up with something just because it’s there. Maybe it would be okay for a little while, but after that, I would think that the heart would yearn for something more, something better. Perhaps I am settling in my daily life right now, and either don’t know it or won’t acknowledge it.

But also know that, deep inside, there’s still a voice … sometimes strong, sometimes faint … that tells me every so often, “Never settle.” Whether it’s in work, or wanting to find a place to live, love, whatever. I hear it. And when I hear updates about my cousin, that voice grows stronger, and more persistent.

And it’s what is driving me to not end up settling for less.

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