People settle for less in romantic relationships for many different reasons. Fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, immaturity, scarcity mindset, ignorance, trauma, shame, codependence, etc. They find themselves in unsatisfying relationships time and time again with people who can’t show up, hear them, respect their boundaries, or meet their needs. But instead of settling for less… what if you could settle for more?
Playing small doesn’t make other people big, and lowering your standards will never raise your self-esteem.
When We Had to Settle
Many of us had to settle for less as children. We didn’t have enough money. We didn’t get enough attention. Perhaps we didn’t have the support, guidance, nurturing, or love that we needed. Whatever the case, we generally had no recourse as kids. So we learned to make do.
And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with accepting and being grateful for what we have, we typically have many more options now than we did as children. And a lot of folks are leaving money on the table for no good reason.
They don’t ask for the raise, speak up for themselves, state their needs, set the boundary, or whatever. And it’s usually because it’s no big deal, or it’s not that bad, or some other version of I’ll be fine without it.
But what would your life be like with it? Probably more wonderful, if I had to guess.
Finding Your More
You may have noticed that the reasons I listed for settling for less in the opening paragraph were all personal issues. So, in most cases, finding your more begins by asking for help and confronting those demons head-on.
But, in addition to some good therapy or coaching, I recommend asking yourself this one simple question:
Am I 100% satisfied with this?
This date, this relationship, this job, this meal, this purchase, this experience, this whatever.
Not 99% satisfied. Not it’s good enough, or no big deal. The road to mediocrity, resentment, scope creep, and silent suffering is paved with no big deals. We’re looking for literally could not be better — that’s the north star we’re navigating with.
And if the answer is no, you’re not 100% satisfied, what can you do about it? Can you make a reasonable request? Set a boundary? Express your feelings or needs? How can you take care of yourself in that situation? Where is your more?
Sometimes finding your more requires leaving that person, place, or thing behind. Other times you can improve the situation. But you have to know the difference between the two.
Because you can never say the right thing to someone who can’t hear you.
Just this morning my wife told me, “This suitcase can go downstairs.” I said, “Can I share a preference with you? Instead of telling me this can go downstairs, I’d prefer if you asked me to take it downstairs. Could you do that for me?” She smiled and promptly replied, “Can you take this downstairs?” I told her I’d be delighted to. Boom. Upgraded my marriage in under thirty seconds.
Whenever she says, “This trash can go out,” or some version of asking me to do something without asking me to do it, I always get a little peeved. The story in my head is that she’s taking me for granted, being passive-aggressive, controlling, or something icky. And usually I “no big deal” myself into not saying anything about it. But not today!
And notice it didn’t have to be some long, drawn-out conversation about my feelings or childhood trauma or anything. Just a simple request with no judgment, blame, shame, or story attached to it. It’s remarkable how effective a simple request can be.
Magical Woo Woo Abundance Manifestation Horse Shit
Please know I am not suggesting in this article that you simply have to decide you want more, and Voilà! — you’ll have it. There’s a long list of things I want and will probably never get, and that’s just tough cookies. But there’s also a preponderance of upgrades well within my reach. And I’m willing to bet you’ve got a stack of them as well, just waiting for you to muster the courage to speak up.
Everyone settles sooner or later, and that’s fine. But if you’re gonna settle for something, why not settle for more?