To Settle Or Not To Settle…That Is The Question

Recently I have become far too familiar with the word “settle”. I hear it every day. Everywhere I go, everywhere I turn…I hear this word ad nauseam.


Settle, settle, settle… I’m beginning to think it’s following me…I’m not kidding. I can’t rid myself of it. I constantly hear phrases like…”You need to settle down”, or “Would you like to settle for the filet or salmon?” And then comes the one I actually don’t mind: “Don’t settle for anything less than true love”.


The word lurks around corners, behind buildings and up alleyways. It hides in my car and even follows me to the gym. Even the friends I speak to every day use it one way or another. HELP!!!


What is happening??? Make it go away!! It’s like when you buy a certain car and everywhere you turn you begin seeing the same pretty ride all over the road. Coincidence??? Not sure…


“Settle” is such an interesting word because it has so many meanings and various definitions. I have found that everyone I know experiences some form of this word at least once (but commonly more frequently than that) in his or her life.


Let’s begin with “settling down”. This form of “settle” actually refers to those that are ready to get married or commit to a monogamous relationship. It screams that whatever was being looked for has been found and a state of contentment is now present. (YIPPIE) It can refer to a partner, a job, or some type of peace that has finally been found; even if the peace is just within one’s own self. Interestingly enough, the word itself means to move downward, sink or descend. Oh my! … “Settle” alone has a somewhat negative undertone, which is where a number of other problems stem from. I have to really wonder- who came up with that expression? I call for a change by Merriam-Webster (dictionary) ASAP! . When people are ready for peace in any area of their lives or commitment we should actually refer to this as “settling up”. The association should be one of ascension…not dissension. I mean seriously!


The next form of the word “settle” would be referred to as “settling with”…This is often defined by not having completely found what you’re looking for or not being able to accomplish what you wanted. Many make the decision to stop seeking their state of happiness and trying to achieve it simply because they have encountered so many obstacles along the way.

I have found this to be quite common in relationships. I don’t judge it because I really understand that there are so many components involved in why we make the decisions we do. People tend to “settle with” for a number of varying reasons. It’s a comfortable place for most and maybe giving up on dreams of excellence at a certain point in all of our lives is something we all have to do (I hope not though). Avoiding mediocrity is like telling the world you want to be different. Most people don’t dare to do this. It’s very scary to take risks or endure possible negativity from those around us. Most rather play it safe and understandably so.

Is it hard to try to do something remarkable?The answer is unequivocally YES. That’s why most people don’t do it. It’s easier to live a sedated life hooked up to the IV drip of average. We live in a world that discourages risk-taking. We live in the “I told you so” world. We are surrounded by “whose fault was it” culture. We waste energy chasing “certainty”. We are more than willing to take a risk when the outcome is guaranteed. Really? I hate to use a cliché about guarantees but you know what they say about death and taxes…

There are so many reasons associated with why we “settle”. Fear is just one. However, I think if push came to shove and a doctor said that we had six months to live…most of us would choose to live out our dreams and muster up the courage to follow our hearts and never settle for average.

The next form of “settle” would refer to those who will never settle for typical or common or less. These are the ones that strive for quality and greatness in one or more areas of their lives. These are the people who feel life is too precious to live in mediocrity and aren’t afraid to take risks. They are the ones that have the nerve, guts and bravery to strive for brilliance. (Or as my father would say in Yiddish “chutzpah” pronounced like this hootzpah) If you’re Jewish the “ch” is pronounced with a guttural, throaty sound- like you’re coughing on a hairball. Ok, let’s proceed…

These people are also the ones that change the world, make a difference, and usually take door number two on game shows. They are also the ones that get judged and talked about the most. Oh c’mon… we all judge and gossip every now and then. (Don’t be a fibber, remember the story of Pinocchio?) Often times, these people don’t live with regret and do ultimately find peace and happiness in their lives. “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” ~Vince Lombardi

My father taught me that living life with chutzpah was the only way to survive in this world. I listened.

I also have been lucky enough to have experienced what great love feels like within my lifetime. There’s no chance I’ll settle for anything less. Ever…But that’s just me.

When it comes to the choices we make in our relationships, however, my experience is that many admit to “settling” for someone who may not really be what they wanted. They are driven by the fear of being alone, fear of financial loss, fear of an empty house, fear of an empty bed or fear of finding someone new. For these people, their choices can only lead to that inevitable moment of heartbreak when they will find themselves asking, “How did this happen to me?” Well, I’ll tell you how…by settling for something other than what you really wanted.

But here is where this dynamic gets “spiritually sticky”. Whether you “settle” for less than you want in a relationship or in any other area of your life, the knowledge that you have compromised will most likely lead you to sabotage your choice (in some way) in the end.

Why would you sabotage your own choice you may ask? The experts say that subconsciously no one can live with the pain of not being true to him or herself and not find some outlet for that pain. That pain has to go somewhere because it’s a form of survival. Consciously many are too frightened to change, so they covertly do it through anger, addiction or becoming withdrawn and depressed. (Or they go to Oz and ask the wizard for courage).



Settling for something less than what you want is something we can’t avoid, because always getting what we want is impossible. (Although wouldn’t it be just fantastic??? I know I’d be happy!!!)


We would become uncontrollable narcissists living among a society of narcissists. So how’s that for a dilemma?


Given that… how can we make choices that are not self-sabotaging or narcissistic but truly reflect what our inner selves want?


It is important to understand the difference between “settling” and “choosing”.

Being able to say to yourself, “I may want to do this, but I choose to do that,” is a sign that you are making a choice that comes from a place of strength and compromise. Settling is more passive and usually comes from a place of fear and weakness and ultimately may lead to regret down the road.


Remember: it’s always better to want what you don’t have than to have what you don’t want.


Until next week…




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