Time & time again, I have coaching clients (& a few friends) say to me, “Other people just seem to settle in life, why I can’t I?” …like they are purposely causing themselves trouble for wanting something more out of their life then they have right now. Like ‘settling’ is always a good thing.
I know when we grow up (when does that happen? I’m still waiting for it) we are supposed to ‘settle down’—whatever that means. I guess it means that you get the spouse, get the house, get the life long job and 2.4 children…then you all live happily ever after waxing your shiny car on the weekends looking ever so smug.
They see others sticking with a job that’s just ‘ok’ (or worse), with a partner who they get along with ‘ok’—with friendships that are a duty, with hobbies they do out of habit. We assume that these people are fine, that they have some kind of settling super power, that if only we had, we wouldn’t be so damn bothersome (mostly to ourselves).
Of course, you never really know what’s going on in someone else’s life anyway (they might actually love the job that we’d hate or they might be screaming on the inside) and mostly we use comparisons to bash ourselves.
Question: Why would anyone be jealous of anyone’s ability to settle anyway?
Answer: Because change feels like a scary business.
The path of least resistance, seeming security and quite honestly, not having to face the potential pain of doing the brave thing, looks pretty appealing when you’re considering making a change in your life.
But settling probably isn’t an option for you, here are 3 Reasons why:
1) You know that Life is Short. Something in your life has taught you this. This is how I got one of my biggest lessons about it…
I’m going to tell you a sad story. I’ve resisted writing about it before because I thought maybe it was just too sad….but here goes.
Back when I was in my mid twenties and going through a tricky time myself with my own ‘settling’ (unfulfilling job, a difficult relationship—general confusion about life) I had a lovely manager at my job at the council. She wasn’t always good at being a manager (organisation wasn’t her strong suit) but I liked her a lot. Her name was Ann, she was always well dressed with sparkling blue eyes & a kind heart. She was in her mid fifties and a mother of 2 grown up daughters.
She told me that despite her boredom, she was sticking her job out at the council waiting for her full pension. Then a terrible day came.
I was there she found the lump in her breast. I was there when she got her diagnosis. I was there when she began her chemo. I was also gratefully there when she came back to work having been given the all clear.
That’s it, she’d decided-life was too short. She was going to live her dream of opening a little florist shop. She’d been practising her skills for years & wanted to spend her days making people smile with flowers. I encouraged her.
Then she met her first big obstacle. Her husband. The idea scared him too much, according to everyone who knew him, he was a bully. He wanted her to stick out her job for that pension.
She submitted and shelved the dream. She went back to boredom and caring for everyone else above herself.
At this point, my own healing crisis kicked in and I left my council job.
But I heard about it, I cried when I did. All these years later, I can’t help shedding a tear at the thought.
Ann’s cancer came back aggressively shortly after. She died a few months later. This lovely, kind woman was gone.
Of course, no one can ever know if she’d stuck to her guns and opened her little florist shop whether she might have made it. If she’d ditched the bully of a husband and stretched her own wings….
We’ll never know.
But I wonder.
In death though, she left a great gift. A gift, I’ve never forgotten. I’m forever grateful for it.
A gift about life.
Rapper Prince Ea put it rather well in his video, “Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives.” Watch it here.
“Struggle and criticisms are prerequisites for greatness. That is the law of this universe and no one escapes it. Because pain is life but you can choose what type? Either the pain on the road to success or the pain of being haunted with regret.
You want my advice. Don’t think twice.
We have been given a gift that we call life.
So don’t blow it. You’re not defined by your past instead you were born anew in each moment. So own it now.
SO OWN IT NOW
Sometimes you’ve got to leap. And grow your wings on the way down.”
2) You are most probably a Highly Sensitive Person.
If you haven’t already taken the test to see if you’re in the HSP gang, you can do so here.
As HSPs we like to think about things deeply, we love to educate ourselves and often share our wisdom in advisory roles such as teachers & therapists. Our creative output often explores what our world is about (you writers, singers, actors & artists). Many of us won’t feel satisfied unless bringing some aspect of our caring & philosophical nature to our work.
So, it makes sense that what we do, who we love, how we live all matter equally deeply to us.
We might feel called to do something, give something, be something and other work with too little thought, too little care, too little creativity will just feel dull. We’ll begin to wonder about the point of our lives.
Author of ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’, Elaine N.Aron says,
“ Following the thinking of Carl Jung, I see each life as an individuation process, one of discovering the particular question you were put on Earth to answer…But the question is not easy, or it would not take a lifetime. What matters is that working through it deeply satisfies the soul.”
3) You need to Satisfy your Soul.
“Live your Soul, Not a Role” (Sonia Choquette)
Let’s get spiritual about this. Whether you identify with the term, ‘lightworker’ (a soul come to support the raising of vibration on Earth) or you feel a deep connection to the planet or humanity-it’s spiritual for you. It probably feels like you made a soul choice to be here right now, learning some lessons and giving back what you’ve learnt, changing things here for the better.
I believe that’s true.
So of course, you can’t just settle. You’ve got your work cut out. You’ve got your own personal torch to shine.
What we often forget is that you’re giving so much just by going through those painful lessons, by naturally shining your light and being alive! But of course, that’s not going to feel enough. You’re on a mission, you feel it, you know it and you know you’ll never feel satisfied with a life half lived.
When settling is ok….
Sometimes it’s ok to settle for a while, sometimes compromise is the order of the day—there’s a timing to things and finding your way through step by step. But you’ll always know when you’ve settled for too long.
It feels icky. Things feel stuck.
And then, it’s time to listen to the wisest person around.
I’d like to say that’s me!!
Of course, it’s the person reading this.
So, don’t judge yourself for wanting to face things and give yourself the chance to flourish, for not being able to settle—for always striving to grow, expand and spread your wings. That’s what this game called life is all about.