The Difference Between Realism and “Settling”

No one wants to here they should “settle.” In a time where most of us have grown up with Disney princesses, technology that grows so rapidly it is hard to imagine anything as being impossible anymore, helicopter parenting styles that allowed us to try anything and never risk true failure, we believe that we can have or do anything we want – anything at all.

And what’s more, “settling” brings to mind images of letting go of everything we ever wanted. When we think of “settling” we imagine giving up on everything and just taking the very first option that presents itself, no matter how obviously, patently miserable it will make us.

But is that what “settling” is really about? Is it good advice to settle, or is settling a recipe for endless drudgery?

I think it all comes down to how you look at it. There is a lot of psychological baggage behind the word “settle” and if you feel you are only settling, that you are just taking what you can get because you can’t do any better, then yeah, you are probably destined for misery. Because there will always be that lingering wonder, that curiosity, that doubt that will always whisper, “I could have got more. I could have waited. My dream man was right around the corner, if only I had been patient.” When you “settle” for less than what you wanted (expected, in your heart of hearts) then you will feel eternally cheated of your due.

But on the other hand, what if you don’t settle? What if you wait and wait and wait and Mr. Perfect never comes around? Sorry to say it, but neither you nor I nor anyone is a Disney Princess(c) for real. And there is no perfect Prince Charming who is going to sweep you off your feet with his bulging biceps into his six figure salary life where you will retire together and take trips abroad every year. If that’s what you are waiting for, everything else will feel like settling. STOP waiting for that.

Being realistic means taking real stock of your options and of what you personally offer. Figure out what’s really important to you, and then look for it, everywhere, to the exclusion of all else. You should pick one, maybe two traits that you can’t live without, and seek out those. Realize that even when you find the guy with that/those trait/s, he will have some flaws, and learn to be peaceful with that – because you ALSO have flaws that he will have to make his peace with.  If you can’t find anyone that’s up to your standards, maybe you need to consider if YOU are up to the standards that sort of person has.

You don’t have to change, but keep in mind if you always do what you always did then you’ll always get what you always got.  If you want better, then you had better BE better.

You don’t have to give up all your hopes and dreams, but you should bring them in line with reality. That funny, dorky guy could very well be the one who’s actually meant to sweep you off your feet, but you’re too preoccupied daydreaming to even notice him.


* Note: this goes for most anything that involves a search process and selection process: jobs, cars, college, careers.  I’ve been reading a lot of relationship blogs lately, so that’s how the post came to be, but, like much advice, it can be applied in many different ways.