Are You Settling?

April 10, 2013 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Are you setting for less in your life? Do you ever find yourself wondering “is this it?” Possibly feeling as though you are settling in your relationships, career path, or with everyday activities? It’s a common question I hear from many clients, friends, and I have even thought about the "settling" question in my own life. When we are putting up with less than we are worth, trudging through each day with less and less excitement or optimism, we are undoubtedly reducing our positive energy and depleting our self-esteem. The pull of wanting more from your life, expecting more out of your day-to-day activities, is not a sign of an unhappy soul, rather it's someone who knows (somewhere) that their purpose is more than just “this.”

Does not settling for less this mean you should quit your job, end your relationship, or attempt to effectively find something else that suites your desires? Not at all! That would be a huge risk and something that can unhinge you. Rather, if you are feeling like you deserve more from life; it may be time to take a good look at what you are putting up with, what you want, and what you desire.

Settling For Less Than You're Worth

Are you settling for less in your life? Quit settling and learn how to build your confidence and self-esteem in order to feel more fulfilled.As a therapist in private practice, people come into my office every day with stories of how they are settling for less than they're worth, settling for less than what they deserve. And this settling is causing not only great amounts of stress and unhappiness, but also eventually either enhances or produces low self-esteem.

For instance, a friend of mine was in an unhappy romantic relationship. The constant fighting and lack of communication was taking over her life. She was stressed out, unable to focus on anything but the situation, and was feeling very bad about herself. When I told her I wouldn’t wish this type of relationship on my worst enemy, she explained she doesn’t even know what a happy relationship looks like.

Heading into the office every day, a client told me that he detested the commissions his superiors were making off of his hard work. As his checks became smaller and smaller, so did his disdain for the workplace. He often arrived late, or found it hard to get motivated, daydreaming about his own ventures and more money in his pocket. When asked about his ideas for his own business, his face brightened, mood lifted and he appeared happy! He admitted that the anxiety of going out on his own was too much pressure for him; he just didn’t believe he could be as successful as his employers.

Settling Equals Lack of Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence

Settling equals a lack of self-esteem and self-confidenceWhat both these people have in common is the lack of self-esteem and self-confidence that keeps them from achieving more. They are settling and they are unhappy. The hardest part of change is acknowledging that you are worth more. This is not an overnight process but it can be achieved. It hinders you from feeling good. It lowers your self-esteem and can be detrimental to your relationship with others; which, undoubtedly, can lead to more problems.

Quit Settling For Less

How To Feel Comfortable With the Idea of Change

You want to quit settling for less, but how? Some people settle for less because they're uncomfortable with change. Here are some ideas to help with that.

Image Making. Go ahead and think about the future in the best light possible. What would it look like if I was in a happy relationship, a better work environment, or ___? How would I feel? Really start to look at all the ways this could be positive, don’t worry about making a move, just picture it. Write it down, visualize it, draw it, whatever works for you. When you can see how something could be different, it helps to lessen your anxiety over moving towards it.

Generate Ideas. What do I want? Perhaps you are satisfied in most areas of your life but want more, possibly feeling less fulfilled? Ask yourself what else would you like? What do other people do that seems to make them happier in life? Start to think of things that you wanted to do in the past or that you want to do in the future, and just create ideas. For the woman in the unfulfilled relationship, she always wanted to start a blog and had a new business idea. These were on the back-burner because she was so consumed with her current stressor. Research new activities, interview people you think are fulfilled, seek out groups that encourage growth or change, or look into a spiritual practice.

Find an Accountability Buddy. Find a friend or family member, even mentor, who you can trust. This is a person who you can generate new ideas with, discuss how your feeling, and someone who will listen, without trying to fix it right away. Overtime, if you begin to make shifts, they can help you stay on track. Often times, these people want to move forward in life too, so you guys will keep each other accountable. It’s a beautiful and powerful experience when trying to shift into a new phase of life.

Settling for less is a really crummy feeling. Believing that you deserve the change or attempting to train your brain to know what you deserve is half the battle. Although this takes time, the ideas listed above will make this process easier, allowing you to begin to have the confidence and self-esteem to achieve more and feel more fulfilled in life.

Take Good Care.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2013, April 10). Are You Settling?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

May, 28 2017 at 12:18 am

"Does not settling for less this mean you should quit your job, end your relationship, or attempt to effectively find something else that suites your desires? Not at all!"
Umm, in many MANY cases, hell yes it should. It's weird that you say 'not at all' but then give an example of a client in a relationship you supposedly "wouldn't wish on your worst enemy."

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 30 2017 at 10:16 am

HI Melanie, it means be careful about making abrupt or impulsive changes in your life. Start small and see what happens when you make small shifts towards setting boundaries..

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