things — whether a relationship or a job — do not have to be terrible in order for us to leave them.

things — whether a relationship or a job — do not have to be terrible in order for us to leave them.

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in other words, why keep settling? there is a difference between a grass-is-always-greener mentality, and a decisive approach to a more positive and healthy life.

we settle for many reasons in life. for the record, most of my blogs are from the perspective of a “first world problem” lens, so make no mistake about the importance or depth of these seemingly more high-maintenance or high-class issues I blog about. I have traveled extensively, and understand that the prevalence of much of what I write about is few to none in many other parts of the world. that said, and even comparatively speaking, we live in a country that has endless opportunity. with so much opportunity across the board, why do we find ourselves settling so much?

in all cases, we are dealing with fear. fear of abandonment (i.e. if I leave this friendship, I won’t have another friend. or, if I leave this romantic partner, I will never meet anyone else. or, if I leave this job, it is possible that no one else will hire me), fear of lack (it is ironic that in a country so rich, we actually have more lack mentality than any other country I have lived in) and fear of judgement (this is a close second to fear of abandonment, as it is the perceived byproduct of abandonment).

the problem is, when we stay out of fear of abandonment, we are actually getting even less than what we settled for in the first place. the logical mind is an excellent devil’s playground for the ego to make up “LOGICAL” excuses as to why we should stick around in a relationship or situation that does not match our intrinsic value. but, we are agreeing — through our actions — to the lens of the friendship or job or employer that does not match our value. so, how would we even know what lies beyond if we do not leap? then, there is the trust factor we need to develop — leap and the net will appear (not the other way around). believing is seeing (not the other way around).

what I see people struggle with the most is the idea that things really aren’t that bad, or aren’t even bad at all, so why rock the boat? why go for that promotion, or apply at that new company if we are making ends meet at our current job? why better oneself if it means outgrowing a significant other and changing and entire family dynamic? why create boundaries around offensive and rude relatives if it means being disliked or disowned by family members? why leave a friendship if the friend isn’t all that bad all of the time, but is tolerable, if it might mean our social life takes a time-out? why look for a bigger or more luxurious apartment or home if the one we have is fine, and if that means our acquaintances or colleagues might be jealous or feel bad because they think we are bougie? why work out at the gym and eat well and become the best version of our physical self if it means we don’t recognize the way we look anymore and that kind of change feels threatening and people will treat us differently, especially if we already like the way we look? why eat healthier and focus on wellness if we are in decent health and don’t have cancer or some illness? in other worlds, we think, if nothing is overtly broken, why should we fix it? why go from good to great?

here’s the thing. things don’t have to currently BE bad in order for us to need to pay attention to them and challenge ourselves. because this is the truth: if we do not choose our own challenges, the UNIVERSE WILL CHOOSE THE CHALLENGES FOR US (I’d rather choose!). for example. a number of years ago, my life was going well. better than it had, ever. I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I was a little nervous about things going so well. I kept getting this sense that the Universe wanted me to strive EVEN harder to show myself what I was capable of — on all fronts. [I had remembered what an advisor said to me 10 years prior: “you’re doing a lot of setting”. and, it was true. I stayed in relationships with people who were so far beneath not only what I had to offer, but what I deserved! I stayed because things weren’t horrible. my early ego was trained strictly to avoid abusive situations, but never to go too far beyond that. so I had a hard time at excelling. my ego actually feared it. I truly thought that I had to almost be on my death bed at the hands of a person or situation in order to move on. I did not realize that I didn’t have to hate or even dislike them, in order to have “permission” to move on (and up!)!] anyhow, as I was nervous about things going so well during the time period I speak of in this paragraph, I was getting this message that said “it’s time to step it up. it’s time to step up your fitness routine and get into the best shape of your life. because you can. because it is time to see physical evidence of all of your transformations, and then more manifestations of growth in your tangible life will also show up”. this is the way that the Universe was hoping I would challenge myself. I was acutely aware of this request, but also aware of the fact that I was “already in good shape, already healthy”. so, there was no real urgency. until the Universe created one for me. a few days after the loud messages regarding stepping up my physical activity were reaching me (and I was even actively considering meeting with a personal trainer — but obviously not fast enough for my higher self’s taste), I broke my toe/foot. right then and there, my challenge had been CHOSEN for me. why? because the nature of human growth/feeling “alive” exists in CONTRAST. and with contrast, we either get to CHOOSE IT or it will choose us. I got a real-time example of this.

in relationships it has been no different. I have had what one might call “sub par” romantic relationships and friendships. at my core, I knew that I had much higher standards for how I would treat people and the world around me, but somehow I settled with people who did not have the same standards for themselves and certainly not for me! so, what did I get? I got mediocre relationships and even LESS in exchange. for a long time, because there was no world war III in my relationships, I stayed. I tolerated. I SETTLED. until I started understanding the actual notion of settling, and how there did not have to be explosions around a person or situation in order for me to move on from them. prior to understanding this, there was always a strong element of guilt for me. I felt that I HAD to stay friends or in a job etc just because I agreed to it at some point. but human growth is not a set in stone based on one agreement at one point in time — we are allowed to change our minds, to grow. we are allowed to choose better. even when we are not in grave danger. it is so useless to stay in situations that are not constantly growing or challenging us — and by challenging us, I do not mean breaking our toe so that we can have the satisfaction of feeling accomplished when we can finally walk normally again (that was my “gift” — the contrast that resides in a challenge, only this one was imposed upon me. but I did feel super accomplished when I could walk normally again. SMH). we should not have to expose ourselves to sub par people or situations who we have to constantly repair or reset from, right back to where we began and not an inch beyond, afterward.

a lot of people deal with guilt, and the fears I note above when they consider making a move. choosing better/more for ourselves often leaves us with the fear of being alone, or the idea that it is lonely at the top. but, if it is, then it might be worth reaching the peak of that mountain so that at least once we are at the top, we can see all of the other “lonely” “freaks” who have had the courage to do the same. we don’t find them mid-mountain, because our challenges will be associated with recovering from mid-mountain activity versus thriving from new beginnings and expansion. new beginnings and expansion are indeed challenges, but self-CHOSEN challenges.

it will be very clear to us whether we are acting out of a grass-is-always greener mentality — if this is the case, we will be looking for a “quick fix” to make us happier. a decisive decision to move toward a healthier, more positive life, will come from a longer-term focus. a decisive, discerning versus judgemental decision will come from the awareness of our fears and desires.

if you are waiting for things to change in your life, feeling stuck, wanting “more” and wondering “what is next?”, don’t wait for your toe/foot to break. it is likely that the Universe is calling upon you to make a list of what your intrinsic self desires are, and have the balls to first fully admit it, and then go after it. this way, the challenge will be in facing the fear, not regressing backwards with the challenge to reach the very place you started from before said setback(s).

“if you’re not growing, you’re dying”.