As I sit here to write this article, I’m in a hotel room overlooking the beach. The waves sound so close you feel like you can put your hand out the window and touch them.
Next to me on the table is this month’s copy of Esquire, the cover of which is beckoning us with “84 Things A Man Should Do Before He Dies.” And I sit here thinking to myself – no matter how many failures I face or how hard life becomes, I refuse to settle.
Many people settle for less than they deserve in many areas of life. A job they can’t stand going to. A man or woman they don’t know why they’re waking up next to, a car they hate getting into – but let’s talk about relationships, and why you should never, ever, settle for less than you deserve.
You’ll always be doubting yourself.
Why is it, exactly, that you can never decide if you’re actually happy or not? Maybe you’re content…comfortable…but are you happy? I don’t know. Could you do better? If you could, then why aren’t you? Is this it? Really…is this as good as it gets?
Self doubt is crippling. It follows you around in life like your shadow, and there never seems to be enough shade to shake it. If you settle for less than you deserve in a relationship, never having the freedom to truly be happy and let go of worry will haunt you.
You’ll never be truly fulfilled.
Part of the beauty of having ambitions, goals, and dreams in life is to have someone to share in them with. A partner, a teammate, someone to support and encourage you when times get rough, and to celebrate with you on the brighter days.
That’s not to say you can’t be fulfilled and happy if you’re single, of course you can. But the worst of all, is being with someone who does none of these things for you. Someone who is discouraging, or lazy, or doesn’t support you. Someone you’re planning a future with who has no future plans for themselves. Each step of life will feel like you’re pulling a little anchor behind you (ball and chain, anyone?). An asterisk on every accomplishment. The inability to wake up each morning and feel truly fulfilled.
You’ll be missing pieces of the relationship puzzle.
Certain things we can learn through the advice and experiences of others. From observing and absorbing lessons. But certain things, we must feel for ourselves before we truly understand.
One of the experiences I needed to have before I learned, was what it’s like to “date” someone’s family. After over 3 decades of marriage, I’ve stopped seeing my parents’ families as “mom’s side” or “dad’s side,” but just…family. I think when you’re with someone you really care about, you sort of become part of everything. You want to. You talk to their parents and they talk to yours. You go on trips together, you feel accepted.
If you are with someone who you’re not truly happy with, there will always be a piece missing. Maybe you get along with their family better than you get along with them. Maybe you don’t get along with them at all. Maybe you just honestly couldn’t care less either way.
For those without an intact family, substitute their friends in the concepts above, and it still works out the same.
You won’t grow as much as a person.
Another great thing about having someone as part of your life is the lessons they can teach you. The new perspectives and outlooks that you would’ve never thought of before. The new experiences you can share in together – maybe things you wouldn’t have done without them.
If you settle into a relationship just for the sake of having someone, you will be defeating this purpose altogether. While there will be someone in your life, the insatiable thirst for life won’t be there. Waking up and going through the motions of daily life is merely existing, not truly living. You deserve someone who will add new logs of wood onto your fire for life, not someone who throws water onto it.
You won’t feel real passion.
To steal a line from Dreams For An Insomniac – “Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life; love shouldn’t be one of them.”
When you are attracted to someone’s looks and appearance, there is intensity. But when you are attracted to someone’s spirit, their soul, their whole being, there is real passion. If you settle for less than you deserve or want in a relationship, you are robbing yourself of the real passion that comes along with it.
Life is too short for average. Plus, it’s just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.
Settling for less than you deserve in a relationship is like filling your bathtub with happiness, but your partner is always poking holes in the floor without you realizing it. Building a solid foundation with someone will always feel like an uphill battle, only you won’t be able to see the summit.
Life is about progress and forward motion – don’t give your time to someone who hinders yours, you can never get any of it back.
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