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Don’t Ever Settle, Even When It Feels Like Your Only Option

“Don’t ever settle.”

We always hear those words, often from our well-meaning friends and family members, when things don’t go as expected. Maybe that person you asked out rejected you and you have another offer from someone else who you don’t like as much, but you’d rather go with someone than no one at all. Maybe it’s a job offer that’s not great—even horrible as far as the pay or work environment goes—but it is a job, and that’s better than nothing. Or maybe it’s simply a dream of yours to do something—travel the word, speak another language—but it seems too impossible to reach, so you figured you may as well not try anymore.

“Don’t ever settle” has been said so much that it’s become a cliche. It’s lost any meaning it may have once had. After all, it’s easier to tell someone not to settle than it is to tell yourself. Giving advice can be so much easier than actually taking advice, especially when it’s a platitude as common as “don’t ever settle” or some other variation of the term. And deep down, I think many of us know our true worth. So why do we get this constant, even nagging, reminder to not settle?

“Don’t ever settle” may be a cliche, but it’s also true and often needs to be said. There are so many times in our lives—maybe more than others—when we don’t see the greatness within ourselves. Instinctively, we know we’re talented, we know we’re good at certain things and have positive personality traits, but in that moment of self-doubt, when a goal seems impossible to reach, it’s hard to see our worth.

You think it’s unrealistic, that it’s impossible for you to rise to the top of the ranks and truly be who you’re meant to be and meet your potential. You’re not “settling” but rather being realistic. Not everyone can afford to wait for their dream job or some great opportunity to come their way when life is going on. Not everyone meets their significant other who’s truly a good fit for them when they’re looking to date or a cohort of friends who are truly your people. And that is more than understandable.

But just because you’re not there right now doesn’t mean you’ll never get that, yet that is often the thought pattern we have whenever we settle. Sure, most of us aren’t billionaires, and the chances of becoming one are likely slim. And maybe right now you have to take that job you hate. But who’s to say you’ll be there forever? Maybe you’ll be able to afford to move to a different town and find that job you always wanted or more. Maybe you’re not dating someone know because you want someone you truly connect with, or maybe you haven’t made any close friends yet because that connection, again, is lacking. But maybe one week or month or even year, when you don’t expect it, you meet the people who you are truly meant to be with. Change is one of the few constant things in life; you never know what could happen.

Settling is a bad habit of mine, but one that I am determined to break. I can no longer stand how limiting it is to my livelihood. Most of life is in-betweens; nothing really good or bad happens, just something that’s neutral. I often assume the worst will happen, which is unlikely, yet I am slow to assume the best will happen, which is just as unlikely. If you’re like me and always think that the apocalypse is upon us, why can’t you take that extremity mentality and believe that something unbelievably amazing will happen as well?

We often think negatively, but that doesn’t mean thinking negatively is right, nor does it mean that we can’t change that mindset, because we can. It’s not easy. I deal with impostor syndrome on a near everyday basis and have to talk myself out of believing I’m not worthy of what I have and so much more to come my way. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. And knowing that something isn’t impossible—that something is possible, one way or another, no matter the timeline—makes all the difference in your life.

Today, and for the days to come, I pledge to myself that I will not settle, even when it feels like the only viable option. I hope you will join me and not settle for less than you’re worth, either. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. You’re worth so much more than you think. Don’t ever settle.

Writer, editor, and bi-con

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