Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Idea of Settling

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe and not what others believe.”~ Barbara De Angelis

I've been thinking about the idea of "settling" lately. What does it mean? I suppose it could mean different things to different people. I've written a couple short stories here in the past that touch on it (The DoorWoman In Red).

To me, it's not a simple notion at all. In fact, I think it has many layers depending on the context. I can't speak for all of you, but I would venture to say everyone, at one point in their lives, in one area or another, has settled. By this, I mean, chosen to remain in something (i.e. job, current living situation, group of friends) or with someone either for convenience, comfort, complacency ... perhaps because it "works" and therefore why mess with it?

I think we all have our reasons for why we do this. And quite frankly, I think sometimes, settling really does have its place, at least for a time. But I'm realizing more and more as I get older, especially during these years of self growth and discovery, that I'm just not built to settle in much of anything that is less than what I believe in, what I'm striving for, yearning for, breathing for. I refuse to do it. That ship has already sailed to be honest. Will I regret that one day? Perhaps. After all, I'm on this ambiguous trip just like everyone else. But my truest of true instincts and intuition tells me I won't.

However, there are people who do settle (whether in their jobs, relationships, lifestyles) and are miserable in so many ways -- some which have yet to present or manifest themselves. But there are also people who settle and own it. Or they settle in one area to flourish in another, sacrifice one part of themselves for the sake of another. I've done that myself. I can't disrespect that. In fact, in all honesty, I have my moments where I envy them that. Because while it has its shortcomings, it does carry with it that comfort and security that I have not felt in a long time.

However, I believe I can find those things within myself. And the more I'm growing and expanding my horizons, the more I'm letting people in or putting myself out there, trying new things, meeting new people or reengaging in or discovering new aspects of myself, the more I'm finding comfort and security in myself and who I see when I look in the mirror.

That said, I do have days where I struggle with the notion I may be just too damn picky ... or perhaps my scars run so deep, they inhibit me from being happy with what's in front of me. I don't know. All I do know is, when I push my mind aside and just allow myself to feel, that feeling has always told me to keep searching. Before, I would "wait" for this something or someone in idle. Thinking if I'm just patient enough, it will come to me.

But I now know that's not how it works. I have to keep searching for my place in this world and living and trying and healing. I have to keep slowly opening myself back up to the world after having put everything on lockdown for so long in order to "protect" myself from feeling the pain and anguish that -- at one time not too long ago -- was all I curled up with at night.

But the search itself is still petrifying. It's akin to feeling my way through darkened tunnels, cloaked in shadows and mist, utterly unaware of what or who I'll encounter. However, through a different looking glass, it's also an adventure, a challenge to trust my other senses and instincts. And as I've been opening back up and letting people in again, I've been learning so much more about myself, what I want in life, what I like, what I don't, what I will never tolerate again, what I can live with, what I can't live without ... all of it. And while I'm still terrified of getting hurt, making mistakes, getting taken advantage of, losing myself, etc. I realize I'm a lot stronger now than I ever was before with a lot more muscle at my disposal.

So, I guess my point is, despite having moments where I wish I could just suspend that voice inside of me that -- throughout my life -- has constantly whispered, "Keep looking and you'll find it," I am more grateful for it now than I have been in a long time. It's what guides me on the rough days and it's what inspires me on the good ones.

Only now, I'm determined to actually get out there and find it.

I believe -- and fear -- I may be as ready as I'll ever be.



  1. Very insightful,as always.I think on our journey threw this wonderful thing we call life, you must try to see the difference between settling and contemptment . Because happness stems from learning to love what you already have. That way we have much gratitude for what we're about to receive. And of course this only applies to good things in your life...

  2. Yes, I definitely agree about loving and learning to love the good things in our lives always. And not living in contempt. But that, too, is a form of work and striving for something more I think. Then again, the things and people who touch my soul and ignite me have been easy for me to love. Finding, going after and working for those things and people ... That's not always so easy ;-) Settling, however, was in reference to giving up, resignation, not chasing after your dreams and following your heart. Or, in one of my past cases, settling to love rather than be IN love. Staying with someone or in a job because it's comfortable, safe and secure, etc.... Figuring out the parts of you you're willing to compromise and the parts you'll fight for until your last breath. So in that context, where love, my career and the way I spend the rest of my years on this earth are concerned, I've decided settling ... just won't do.

  3. This is a very good topic Cassandra... I also share your feelings and concerns, and one thing I have learned is that even though the grass might look greener, it could also be full of weeds... Any time we feel as though we are settling, we alwas have the "what if"... Makes you a good writer, no doubt... But at the same time, you may be searching for impossibilities... Maybe not, but I find that whenever I seem to look another direction, and think maybe it could be better... I only think about the good parts. My imagination runs wild with all of my ideals built into one person, and then the problem is, in my mind and situation in life, that person in my mind will always change... hell almost daily... If you try to look at it the other way, it may open your own mind to new perspectives... Like, what do you feel a guy sees in you, that you could be everything he dreams about? Could you? If not, how can you work towards that? Or, should that just be the way it is? I mean, that sounds nice and all but... Now, I'm not saying just find somebody and deal with it, no... But once you do find a reasonable home... If you want your grass to look the greenest, you need to water it, and care for it, just like any other lawn... Sorry it's a tired metaphor but, one I feel is easily related to... But throughout life, we watch fairy tails, and there is always a girls dreams of prince charming, or for guys, the girl that fits the glass slipper... Shouldn't be a one size fits all but... i dunno... Good luck!

    1. Definitely very good points :-) I love getting different feedback. Actually, you've pretty much described something very similar to what I wrote in my post last year about love in general

      In that one, I described it as a rose or flower, but similar concept. You have control, to some degree, over what it becomes, if it grows, if it dies, stays stagnant, how much you nourish it and let it grow, how much you drown it or suffocate it. But, as far as settling, I certainly wasn't insinuating to follow the "Grass is always greener" concept. Rather, the opposite. Working hard and putting effort into our lives, sometimes seeing hard truths (about ourselves or others) and facing them, going out of our comfort zones to chase our dreams, follow our hearts, intuition and having enough respect for ourselves to walk away from something that isn't healthy, etc. We have so much untapped potential that dies upon resignation. I guess that was my point. Plus, this post was definitely not just in reference to relationships. That's the beauty of writings, each person takes from it what they choose to or what applies to them.