5 Signs You’ve Settled for Less
It’s easy to convince yourself that what you have is all you’ve ever wanted. Because no matter what’s going on for you right now, it is what you wanted, at one time. You chose what you have right now based on very real needs at the time. But don’t you ever get the feeling that there’s something more you’re missing out on? Is it possible that you may have settled for less?
A lot of people become adults and then stop growing and changing. You know, did you think you would reach a certain stage of life and bam! that would be it–life would be easy and comfortable? You’re not alone in holding this common, yet irrational assumption. Now you’re starting to feel like your life has fallen short in some way, but you can’t put your finger on it? Are you just moody, or is something really missing?
Here are five signs that you have indeed settled for less:
- You fantasize about going back to school or changing jobs, but you stay put and complain. You thought you had your career all figured out, but now you’re not certain this is it. You want to learn and grow in some way, but circumstances are holding you back. You don’t want to risk what you have, what you’ve spent so much energy attaining. What if you’re wrong? What if you lose what you’ve worked so hard to get?
- You carefully avoid the responsibilities you do have. You try to get by flying under the radar so no one will notice that you really don’t care that much about what you’re doing. Living the bare minimum of life is a slow suicide of the heart. And even though you can feel that, you can’t seem to push yourself to do more or try harder. You may believe you don’t deserve to have what you really want, or that it’s just not attainable for you.
- You make yourself busy with things that don’t really matter. You shop. You surf the net. You party all the time. You constantly waste energy and resources on things that aren’t giving you anything back in terms of value. You’ve settled for distractions rather than inspiration. You either don’t know where to find it or how to harness it, so you act as if it doesn’t exist.
- You continually chase highs hoping they’ll make everything fall into place. You thought the perfect job, or the right person would seal the deal and make life feel good enough. But the next reward you earn, promotion you get, goal you attain, or person you collect aren’t enough to fill the void or longing you feel. You keep going after more, hanging your hopes on aligning the right bits and pieces, but it never seems to be the right formula, or enough to make you happy.
- You feel stuck or lost, almost depressed at how your life has turned out. If you wonder secretly (or out loud) if this is all there is, then you’ve probably settled for less than your full potential. You should pay attention to the voice that’s asking because it isn’t random that you wonder.
Harboring a certain level of discontent for months on end is a sign that your soul is longing for something more. Realizing you’ve settled for less isn’t as much of a problem as is the belief that you can’t do anything about it. Because when you’re feeling this way, what you’ve really settled on is a definition of who you are based on what you’re doing and who you’re with. You built a personality you thought you could count on, but now you’re not sure.
In reality, the definition of who you are isn’t meant to be concrete and that is probably what you’re struggling with. There’s a push within all of us to want more and that calling can be tough to understand. It isn’t about getting stuff or attaining more. Perhaps there’s more to who you are than you’ve been willing to consider. A lot of people, thinking life would just settle into place, have come up against the reality that the quest to answer the age-old question “who am I” isn’t over–not by a longshot.
I don’t care what age you are, I want you to know that there is always more available to you. The mystery of who you are and why you’re here is always unfolding from the seat of your soul. The more you allow the realness of you, the more full you will feel. Our work as evolving human beings doesn’t end, ever. Fulfillment arrives slowly over the course of a lifetime, not all at once like the sun coming out from behind the clouds.
Our interactions with the world give us opportunities to study ourselves in relation to compassion, bravery, empathy, courage, persistence, strength, understanding, patience, kindness, and love. We have to push ourselves into hard stuff if we’re ever going to master these qualities. And yes, we should want to. If you’re not feeling challenged with any of the above, you’ve probably settled for less. You’re not in a position where you’re learning, putting yourself to the test, and growing as a result. In essence, you’re stagnant and that’s a painful place to be living in.
Reaching your full human potential takes a lifetime. That’s why you’ve been granted the time you have, to use wisely in search of not only who you are, but also who you can become under pressure. And for that, you need an environment that isn’t static or overly comfortable. At times we all try to resist the tough and scary stuff, but it’s within that context that we’re challenged to grow and practice the things that lead us to feel more whole.
Even as we enjoy each and every moment, appreciating where we are and what we have, but it’s also important to continually challenge ourselves to improve and expand our capacity as human beings. What we do each and every day either pushes us to become better people or allows us to settle for mediocrity and laziness.
Do the environment and circumstances you’re living in provide you the opportunity to become your best self? Are you embracing the challenge of becoming all that you can be?