10 signs you’re settling for less than you deserve in life

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Have you ever felt like you’re just waiting for your life to happen?

I remember feeling that way for years.

When I remember this feeling of waiting, I think back to the beliefs and habits that kept me trapped there. 

If you find yourself affected by a lot of these beliefs and actions, you’re also settling for less than you deserve in life. 

Let’s take a look and then go through how to take action on this.

1) You’re depending on ‘someday’ 

When you’re settling for less than you deserve in life, you’re low on motivation

Even if you’re working hard, you’re only doing what somebody else tells you to do or what’s necessary. 

You’re waiting for “someday” to really make a change. 

Let’s face it:

Someday, “someday” never comes…

2) You rarely take action on plans

Plans and dreams may fill your head, but they’re more like daydreams. 

“I’ll get on that tomorrow,” you tell yourself as you grab another beer or glass of wine. 

The next day you end up watching a new film that just came out: 

Dreams will still be there tomorrow, right? 

This is just another version of settling and unfortunately it can lead to life passing you by.

3) You’re barely earning enough to survive 

If you work hard, you deserve to have the necessities of life and time to relax. 

That’s my controversial view! 

I guess you could call me pro-human.

But when you’re settling for less than you deserve, you accept your frustration and exhaustion of work because there seems to be no alternative. 

You say you’ll finally break free soon and do whatever it takes to find another way to earn money, but somehow that day keeps eluding you, partly due to the exhaustion of your current job. 

4) You’re dating somebody you’re not that into

I think many of us have faced the following very depressing situation:

We can either stay single and alone or be with someone other than who we actually want. 

I wish it was just in tragic old literature and lovesick poetry where this happens, but unfortunately it’s all too real. 

The problem with deciding that you’re going to settle for dating someone you’re not that into is that it’s a form of letting yourself down.

The same goes for when you get into a relationship that’s good at first but becomes increasingly nightmarish: however you give it a pass so you won’t end up alone.

“When you decide to settle in a relationship, you choose to accept things that you deeply know don’t sit right by you,” notes relationship expert Rachael Pace

5) You see highly successful people as another species 

When you’re settling for less than you deserve in life, you will find that you make excuses for it. 

It’s natural to try to explain what’s going on, but unfortunately some of these justifications for why your life seems unsatisfying are self-sabotaging justifications

They often come down to “us vs. them” formulations which keep you down.

For example: 

  • The extremely good-looking people versus the normal-looking people
  • The wealthy versus the regular folk 
  • The smart and brilliant versus the intellectually average

These types of beliefs only serve to distance you from an imagined ideal others are occupying, when in reality many of them are just as beset by insecurity and fear as you.

6) You think following the rules will keep you safe

I believe that hierarchy and top-down authority has a valid purpose. 

If I’m learning to drive and my instructor tells me: “push that and then turn the wheel,” I’m going to push it and turn the wheel!

Many rules have a reason. 

But following the rules without thinking is a habit that keeps people stuck and conditioned in far too many cases.

Following the rules when you can see how they limit or control you beyond your own interest or actual safety is a surefire way to end up with less than you deserve. 

It can also put you in extreme danger as we see repeatedly, most recently in the horrific fires in Maui, where many of those who waited to do what authorities allowed them to didn’t make it out.

7) You let others tell you what you should do

When somebody competent tells you what to do for a reason, it’s best to do it. 

But far too often, we end up getting less than we deserve because we bow to easily to outer authority or predetermined roles. 

The guy in the uniform tells you to stay put, so you stay put…

Your dad tells you that being a stockbroker is the only real career for a serious guy, so you stick with it even though long hours and stress start ruining your family life…

This ties into the next point… 

8) You seek approval and validation

We all want that proverbial pat on the back. 

But when we start depending on it to feel a sense of drive and well-being, it gives others the green light to control and manipulate us. 

One of the biggest signs you’re being held back in life is that you only feel good and complete when somebody else tells you you’re doing a good job. 

That internal surety you’re doing great just isn’t there, so you keep chasing that high of outside approval.

9) You stay in your comfort zone 

Getting less than you deserve in life happens when you stay in your comfort zone. 

You wait for good luck…

You wait for others to agree with your dreams…

You wait to feel better or more motivated before taking a risk…

You daydream and have ideals and want to get it just perfect before you really sink in your time and effort, your money, your commitment, your heart…

You wait for another, better time to act…

I love how Melissa Chu puts this:

“Does it ever feel like you’re waiting?  

“Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the fog to clear, so you can see what lies ahead. 

“Waiting for the moment the pieces come together, culminating in the perfection you spent your entire life waiting for.  

“If you’re still waiting, here’s news: you’re wasting your time.”

10) You’ve lost your enthusiasm for life 

The worst sign that you’re settling in life is that your enthusiasm is just plain sapped. 

It’s not just that you’re bored by your job, your relationships or the ideas you’re introduced to. 

It’s that even a fun vacation, new music or a fresh relationship barely get you excited, too. 

You’ve more or less checked out and accepted that life is just a fairly disappointing charade where you’re going to get the short straw. 

As Jeff Steinmann notes:

“Excitement about life gives you energy. 

“If you get tired early in the day or have trouble getting out of bed, your life isn’t giving you the excitement and energy you need to make it through the day.”

This is all about normalizing disappointment.

While it’s true that you can’t always get what you want, it’s also true that every success is trailed by a string of many failures and times when other people might have given up. 

But the successful person finds the lesson and motivation in setbacks, instead of the excuse to quit or think less of themselves.

Renovating or moving your ‘emotional home’

The reason we settle for less than we deserve in life occurs when we are waiting for something to happen or consider ourselves unworthy or “not good enough.”

This passivity or self-doubt is contained in our emotional home. 

Our emotional home is what we’re used to: it’s the expectations about ourselves and our role in the world that are normal and make sense to us. 

The fact is: whatever you get in life is often out of your control, but what you settle for and see as normal has a lot to do with your beliefs and self-image.

Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins explains this extremely well and very concisely.

“If you had a billion dollars but the habitual emotions you go back to are frustrated and pissed off, then your life is called frustrated and pissed off…

“Wherever my emotional home is, I will find a way to get back there.”

The question is: what’s your emotional home? 

Does it have a lot of advantages and beautiful, sturdy construction, or is it full of doubt and creaky boards, dark attic spaces and rotting foundations? 

There’s no shame in continuing to build an emotional home we can be proud of that we can come back to and regroup even when life is a storm of chaos.

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