Why Can’t I Settle? The 3 Reasons why you can’t.

Why Can’t I Settle? The 3 Reasons why you can’t.

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.
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.

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  • Aretha
    December 28, 2016

    What I love about being human and the Internet, is that when I’m feeling despair and all alone in figuring out this crazy thing called life, there is fellow traveller out there, just like me, this makes my soul sing and know that we are all part of the same whole.

    • Thea
      December 28, 2016

      Thanks for the lovely comment Aretha. 🙂

    • jenniferdixonexplores
      April 5, 2017

      YES. <3

  • Susy Parker
    March 6, 2017

    Wow! I needed this read today! Sitting here drinking my morning coffee and crying lots of tears. This was a beautiful read and something I needed so much. Thank you for writing it, thank you for sharing it. You’ve just possibly put my entire life into perspective. I answered yes to all ten of the highly sensitive people test! Wow! Just wow! Thank you…Byron Bay here we come!

    • Thea
      March 6, 2017

      Thank you SO much for such a lovely comment Suzy. I woke up to it this morning & felt so touched. It made my day. How did you even find me?!Your website looks incredible-gosh what a lot you’ve been through and what incredible work you’ve created from that difficulty. I can imagine it’s helping so many parents. Thanks so much again & I hope you enjoy the Aussie sun (I’m jealous!).

  • Katie Hulland
    October 26, 2017

    Love love thisss!!!! ❤️❤️❤️Thank you so much for writing this

  • jolifecollage
    October 27, 2017

    Had tears in my eyes when i read this. There are other people out there who are cut out from the same cloth! I sometimes blame myself for not feeling content with what I have, which is plenty. However, I can’t ignore that constant inner voice telling me that there is more to life. I’m not sure what that “more” is yet, but now I can now fully justify going on a journey to find it.

    Funny how googling “why can’t I settle” tonight got me here. Thank you for being my inspiration.

    • Thea
      November 3, 2017

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Jo. You’re definitely not alone!

    • Jillian Still
      April 6, 2019

      Could have not said it better!!! Googled exactly the same and saw this. On my third job in two years and nothing but disappointing experiences. I know I want more, need to feel connected, taken seriously in my role, but equally engaged and working towards something that makes me feel I can make a change, being allowed to bring something into tge role and not just vegetate!

      • thea
        April 7, 2019

        Thanks so much for your comment Jillian. I wish you LOTS of luck with finding what feels meaningful for you. If you’d ever like some support with that, I coach lovely women like you. 🙂

  • Halle
    January 5, 2018

    I found a “tribe”–googling about my mess. Ha- this is awesome and just what I needed. Thank you. Thank you. Please keep writing.

  • Thea
    January 5, 2018

    I absolutely feel as though I am on a journey, and reading this article was yet another stepping stone, letting me know I am on the right track, (I came across it quite by chance as I often do). So much of this article resonated with me, even though I have had many opportunities, I have enjoyed an almost serendipitous path at times, and yet…… and yet! I know I am not there yet! Thank you, I love that there are many of us moving in the same direction, albeit in differing ways, yet working towards a better space.

  • Thea
    January 9, 2018

    Thank you so much for this. My finding it is perfect timing as just today I had the best wake up call. I applied to a teaching programme a few weeks back and on a call today with an abrupt man, I was told that my qualifications and experiences were not good enough for me to join the programme. I was initially, hurt, then indignation set in, followed by a curious feeling. I was really happy – teaching had been my back up, my safe choice, my, if the other plans don’t come off, then it’s ok choice. The firm No, has helped me come back into my path and on to plan A again, which is completely not a plan, but a series of steps, in a direction of my choosing. Your words today have made me feel safe and able to totally own this wide expanse for not knowing, yet deep down, knowing entirely that it is where I want to be headed! THANK YOU!

  • Thea
    January 9, 2018

    But how do you juggle the desire for community (and belonging) with the drive to keep moving and sharing your light?

  • Kate
    March 21, 2018

    Thank you! I have just resigned from a permanent teaching job amid all of the ‘Oh NO! Never give up a permanent job! You are crazy!’ attitudes. I have moved around all of my life, feeling so very flawed for that, envying others’ their stability and roots. At almost 48, I still feel as much of a traveller as I was when I was a teen on the streets. I begin in a new place, full of bravado that I will stay here until my soul begins to freeze and solidify into nothingness. The things I have read here resound so much within me and I am so glad that I found this page. I am not flawed! I can’t expect the naysayers to understand and it is OK to be who I am. Namaste!

    • Thea
      March 22, 2018

      Hi Kate, thank you so much for the lovely comment. I’m so glad my blog resonated with you & I love your courageous spirit. Happy adventures!

  • Thea
    April 9, 2018

    Author: Nella
    I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve found this restlessness in me lately and anxiety because I have not been able to explain where it’s coming from to myself. It’s a feeling of kind of waiting something but you just don’t know what and a feeling that you should be somewhere else doing something and not settling where you are now. I’m in my early twenties and a thought that I should settle somewhere to study after my gap years makes me hesitated and anxious. I also feel like I should be in a relationship like my peers (the society might have something to do with this one) and that’s sort of what I’d want, too, but on the other hand the thought of being engaged to someone who might want to settle down (maybe not even right now but in near future) is somehow an absolute no.
    This text really gave me a new aspect to my emotions and you somehow made it seem so logical. Thank you!

  • Paul M
    April 11, 2018

    I’m a Male but i find this article really helpful. I’m 33, immigrant from thr Philippines. Leaving home even you’re single is a struggle. You adapt and adjust and thise is not a eqsy and quick process. Im on my year 3 here in the US and worked/lived in 2 states- first in MY and currently now in NJ.

    I’m literally living on my own since i was 12 after my mom died. Since then, I was focused on living my life following a track strictly because I know if I mess up, no one is going to help me except myself. Finished my Bachelor’s when i was 21 and Master’s at 23. Entered PhD program but quit after 3 semesters after having thoughts of “i’m too young to have doctorate degree” and it’s too stressful workin fulltime and it takes all the time that i suppose to do to enjoy life. Now, it haunts me to this question: “No doubt that I enjoyedy life after, but am I happy now?”

    I would say that i grew up without enjoying my teenage life, and became matured early. Few failed relationships during my 20’s as i cant really deal with their “immaturity” and only now that i have realized that probably i dont understand the way they think since i haven’t been there. As mentioned above, i tried living my life with quality. I based all my life decisions with this. I quit my job in MT because i was bullied and i am working like a slave. I moved here in NJ and I thank God to have a wonderful job. But again, the question “am I happy?” still haunts me. I travel a lot and i enjoyed each experience, but feel depressed after (post-travel depression). I am happy while at work but when i get home and alone- i feel lonely but good thing is i am not sad. I have even advanced my knowledge with the work i am doing with two certifications that added letters after my name but still, I feel some sort of not satisfied. I feel that my soul is lost, and i am still finding my path or still searching my purpose.

    During my “Me” time, i have realized that the reason of all these mainly because i compare myself to others. I see other people’s facade that gives me frustrating thoughts “why them and not me?” Name it- relationships, skills, jobs, status, etc. Your article is really spot on! Most of the time, the frustation ot comparing ourselves with other people is we only see what they show us externally but we don’t know what’s their own struggle- working 3 jobs and no time for fun because they need to pay heir bills like cars and mortgage, married but unhappy, in a relationship but having issues. And i agree that life is a constant struggle and we just have to deal with and go with the flow. I would also add that for us to enjoy life, we need some “spice” on it. We will never appreciate the value of life if there’s no pain. I am still having the struggle but i am doing my best to beat it and deal with it. It’s not an easy task but i still believe that there’s a reason why i have to be in this situation. As you have said, struggle is a prerequisite to greatness- and i am looking forward to this. THANK YOU SO MUCH:)

    • Thea
      April 13, 2018

      Thanks so much for your long & thoughtful comment Paul. You’ve been through so much in your life already!I hope you find what your heart truly desires. You deserve it!

  • Thea
    May 16, 2018

    Susan: I have always felt there is something wrong with me I always feel there is more to life and never feel satisfied I have an amazing husband and children but they don’t understand why I never feel anything is enough life stood shirt yo just accept and settle.

  • Kimberly
    August 9, 2018

    This is a great article. I think those of us who are restless actually are like the prophets of old who suffered because they saw reality and tried to share it with others, who only wanted the status quo. It is painful to be different from the majority of people who “settled,” and I am almost 70 and STILL not settled and not comfortable all the time. Yes, a stable community and relationships would be nice, but there is something bigger than all of that, even friendships. That is the mystery of life, which I like to say is why God put each one of us here in the first place. Sometimes, I think we shall never know in this world the real spiritual path which we have followed in not settling. Yes, it is hard, but maybe we plant seeds for others, seeds of light, which we cannot see harvested. What do you think?

  • Katie
    August 27, 2018

    Thea you have given my overactive brain clarity and the permission to accept myself as I am.

  • Grant J.
    October 24, 2018

    Awesome Article! definitely connected with the light worker vibe!

  • rene
    October 30, 2018

    i am so happy i read this. thank you

  • Jade
    April 3, 2019

    Thank you for writing this, your words have resonated with me such a lot, and have reignited the fire in my soul to follow my intuition, and not retreat to the safe, well-trodden path that I’ve often though that I should be striving for. 🙂

    • thea
      April 7, 2019

      YAY! I’m so glad. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Jade.

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