I’m 23 years old, and I can count more than 23 instances when I chose to settle.
Not one of those instances allowed me to be happy.
The fact is, every single time I choose to settle, I give up on myself and throw away any hope to attain what I truly want.
I wanted to have a decent basketball career in college.
But, I chose a school that seemed like a good fit because of the location and the way the gym looked, not because the coach wanted me to be a big-time player.
I chose to stay with my high school boyfriend for five years because we seemed like a good enough fit.
He was a great guy, I loved his family, my family loved him and the mere thought of not being with him scared the living hell out of me. But, those aren’t reasons to stay with a person.
After failing to land a job in my field of undergraduate studies, I went back to school to be a teacher, even though it was probably the last thing I wanted to do.
Yet, it seemed convenient, was suggested by a lot of people and I figured it would give me the 9-to-5 career I felt I needed in order to be successful.
I barely survived a semester and a half of awkward, uncomfortable public speaking and tedious lesson planning.
Standing in front of my peers, I’d sweat in places I didn’t know a person could sweat.
My throat closed up to where I couldn’t talk. I broke out in hives.
That whole trick about envisioning your audience naked didn’t work for me. I felt like the naked one.
I muddled through the lesson plans and faulty statements of how I would be an “effective” teacher, until I had no muddling left in me.
At the end of the day, the only thing that stood out to me was a question: Why am I doing this to myself?
As if I hadn’t already known, I learned teaching isn’t for me. Not even close.
So, I quit.
And although I know deep in my heart I’ve made the right decision, the money and time I’ve lost could have been avoided if I never settled into the decision to go back to school and become something I had no desire to be.
You see, I recognize all these things now, but I still find myself contemplating settling for certain things.
And when I get the courage not to settle, even though it makes me feel relieved and indescribably happy, I always feel like I’m letting someone down.
I can’t help but hate a small part of myself for being the kind of person who is constantly willing to live my life in a way that I feel will make others happy, even if it means I’ll be unhappy.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself it’s okay to be selfish, even when it is difficult.
We settle because we think it’s what other people want for us.
We settle because we’re afraid to let down the people who are affected by our decisions. We would rather be hurt than hurt someone else.
When we settle, we don’t benefit ourselves. We hurt ourselves.
Settling permits temporary happiness and convenience, but it foreshadows future letdowns and misery.
So I say, quit settling.
Quit settling for men or women who are subpar to what you truly look for in a person you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
Quit settling for homes that don’t feel like home.
Quit settling for friends who you literally have to force yourself to hang out with.
Quit settling for jobs that make you hate waking up in the morning.
Find it in yourself to realize at the end of the day, when you rest your head on your pillow, your decisions affect you more than anyone else.
Find what makes you happy, and do that. You deserve it.