Are You Settling?
So many people come into my practice and sit down to assess and sort out their lives. Some confide they are depressed and want to find happiness; others share that their lives are lacking something and they want help identifying the missing links so that they may find a sense of meaning and fulfillment in their daily living.
As I assess my clients, I must decide if they need to change their perceptions of what is going right in their daily existence and appreciate their lives for what they have to offer. Or, do they need to make changes that will stretch them out of their comfort zone and require new patterns of behavior. If it is a change that needs to occur, the client may be facing two huge dilemmas. They may have significant insight into what they know they must do, but they lack the energy to redefine their present circumstance. A frequent question I ask a client is, “Are you settling?” for something that is either comfortable or familiar.
You may recognize this scenario, as it happens all too frequently in the lives of many couples. Do you know a couple who coexist in a dead marriage where there is little or no communication? The couple spends virtually no time together. There is no energy spent on nurturance or having fun. Both of them come home and fall into a routine that is both predictable and familiar. The routine allows them to avoid each other for years.
The intimacy is non existent. If one partner expresses dissatisfaction it is met with a dull stare that passively says, “This is all I have to give.” When the dissatisfied person ends up in my office, he or she will complain that they have no control of their lives. Their partner refuses to connect with them and they are so unhappy. At that point, I ask two important questions.
• “Why are you settling?”
• What keeps you in this dead relationship?”
Often, the answer to those questions is money, familiarity, or fear of change. It clearly takes courage to stretch out of your comfort zone and look at your life honestly. Fear of the unknown can keep you locked in a reality that stifles your potential. Oftentimes, my clients are waiting for the energy to motivate them, when in reality they need to develop a plan to create a momentum that feeds their energy.
My next crucial question is:
What do you need to do to feed the process of change? If you aren’t ready to file for divorce, what about talking to an attorney to get information? Information is a powerful resource in making healthy decisions. Maybe you decide that divorce is not the answer…how about enriching another part of your life to feel more alive! You might need to get a hobby that brings out your creativity. Perhaps you can nurture a relationship that gives back something to you!
Once you feel more alive you may find that you have the energy to follow through on other tough changes. You begin to stretch out of the land of predictable and familiar and into the world that awaits your potential.
Take a few moments and decide how you can change a part of your life that is really suffering.
Now write out a commitment statement that holds you accountable to the CHANGE!
The point is, DO SOMETHING. No matter how small it is, make the needed changes in your life. It’s all about learning how to live fully and stop settling.