The Art Of Not Settling

 Elizabeth Tsung
Elizabeth Tsung

We settle a lot in life.  We deal with our incorrect entrée in a restaurant because we don’t feel like waiting for the new one. We settle for those jeans in the mall that don’t seem to fit perfectly, but they look decent enough.  Sometimes we even settle for a girl or guy that doesn’t give us butterflies or treat us right, simply because we’re scared to let go and start over or even worse, we don’t think we deserve better. In some cases, starting over seems like the scariest thing in the world, but I promise, sometimes it’s what’s best for us.

Love is not something that should be on that list of things we settle for.

There’s a cheesy quote that I discovered on Pinterest that says it all: “There are too many mediocre things in life; love should not be one of them.”

Many girls paint a picture in their mind at a young age of who their “perfect man” is; what he looks like, what he does for work, and how he treats others.  We grow up with fairytale bedtime stories and promising romance movies, you know, the ones where the man is a handsome, charming gentleman with the best smile on Earth and makes his girl feel like a princess all the time.

Sometimes we get so swept away by these fictional stories that we expect real life to be this way. Only problem is, as we get older, we begin to realize that no, men are not always perfect, and neither are we.  No one is. And life itself is not always perfect.  

After this realization, it is easy for us to get down on ourselves and mope around thinking that our real life Prince Charming isn’t out there and that love doesn’t exist.  We alter our notion of what true love is.  It becomes easy for us to settle because “real life isn’t like the movies.”  Sure, life is no Disney or Nicholas Sparks movie, but why do we allow ourselves to believe that our very own real life version of a fairytale doesn’t exist?

Let’s scratch the word “perfect” for a minute, here.  Let me explain this. There is no such thing as perfect (I sound so hypocritical, don’t I…but bare with me and read on).  Life is hard and people are unpredictable.  That’s just the truth.  No relationship is ever a walk in the park; there are ups and downs, twists and turns.

Along with the happy times, every relationship faces difficult and troubling times, whether they last a few minutes, or even years.  Expecting love to be simply joy, smiles, and bliss every day is just not realistic, so don’t allow the fairytale stories to skew your perspective of life.  (Sorry.)

While fairytale stories and romance movies are a nice escape, they are not always realistic and that is what we have to remember when we compare a story or movie to our own life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying a relationship should be difficult all the time…because it shouldn’t be.  But once we understand that every relationship faces difficulties, it allows us to perceive love more clearly.  Love isn’t about finding the perfect person and living the perfect life, it’s about caring deeply for someone and going through the ups and downs together.

Love is meant to teach us things about ourselves, each other, and the world around us.  If love was truly perfect with little-to-no challenges, as it is in some movies, we would not benefit from it.  So let go of the fictional fairytale version of perfect and create your perfect.  Find someone who is perfect for you; who complements who you are.  Do not hold onto someone who does not treat you with kindness when times get hard.

Do not hold on to a dude out of fear that you won’t find someone better.  Do not settle for anything less than what you want and need.

I have dated lots of people during my 22 years of life.  I’ve seen it all, from the bad boy to the mama’s boy, and I’ve been around the block with a few jerks (Tip: if someone starts regularly acting like a jerk, leave. They’re not worth it- believe me).  Through these flings and relationships, I have learned what kind of man I don’t want.

I’m still determining what it is that I truly need in a partner, and that’s okay, but hey, I know my worth.  I know I will not tolerate lying or someone who is disrespectful towards others. I know that I will not tolerate someone who cannot hold himself accountable for his behaviors and actions.  I know that I will also not tolerate someone who makes me feel like a burden, unattractive, or unintelligent.

So once you realize your worth, (that you’re a strong, smart, gorgeous, badass who don’t need no crappy man), it becomes easier (and more satisfying) to let go of people who do not benefit or complement you.

So ladies, do yourself a favor… do not settle.  Your real life (not fictional) fairytale is waiting to happen.  A man who works with you during difficult times, not against you, and who loves you more than himself, is on his way to you.  A man with a heart of gold and the same sense of humor as you is looking for a woman like you.  Your heart is waiting for a man that gives you butterflies rather than tears in your eyes. But you won’t ever find him if you’re stuck in a dead-end relationship with someone else.

Let go and don’t feel guilty.  Learn from your past, but look forward to your future. You deserve the best that there is.  He might not show up on a horse in shining armor with his hair blowing in the wind at sunset, but he will show up.  Oh yes, darling, he will, as long as you let him. Keep your chin up and your standards even higher. TC mark

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