I couldn’t even count the amount of quotes I’ve read on Instagram about not settling. And I’ve seen countless listicles shared on my Facebook timeline with ways to prevent yourself from settling.
These days it seems like everyone is telling us that we need to keep striving. Striving for the perfect love or the perfect job or even the perfect bowl of bolognese, for God’s sake.
People are obsessed with the idea of not “settling.” But what even is settling? The quotes, articles, and lists I mentioned above sell settling as a bad thing. It’s described as if settling on something means you’ve given up. You’ve stopped working and pushing. Or you don’t think you deserve anything else.
Hearing these versions of settling will do one of two things — It will either motivate you to strive for what you really want, or it will cause you to feel like a failure. For me, it’s often the later.
Settling can be described another way, though, and it’s often overlooked. Think about a dog doing circles in his fuzzy dog bed and then laying down. He’s settling into a comfortable position. Or imagine a brand-new mother, learning and adapting to her new role. She’s settling into motherhood — not giving up on her career.
Sometimes it’s okay to settle into something comfortable.
Now I’m not saying you should put yourself in a bubble and never step outside of it. But let’s stop constantly looking for what’s next. And stop constantly assuming that what we’re doing already isn’t enough.
Just because you took a job that you don’t necessarily love to pay off your student loan doesn’t mean you’ve given up. The same way that a three hour road trip to a cabin rather than a thirteen hour flight to a tropical destination doesn’t mean you’re boring. All it means is that in this moment, at this time, this is what you’re comfortable doing.
Of course, not everything works this way. We can’t settle on everything. I would never advise a friend to stick it out in a relationship that is making her unhappy. Nor am I suggesting spending ten years working at a job that makes you absolutely miserable. If your happiness and well-being is at risk, get out. Move on.
But otherwise, don’t let yourself get bogged down with the pressure to constantly be pursuing greatness. Greatness comes in a lot of different forms and it’s not always easily recognizable.
Sometimes it exposes itself in the form of trophies and recognition — while other times it looks like a warm bath and a glass of Pinot Noir. Discover your own greatness on your own time, in your own way.