Self-Truths That Will Stop You From Settling For Less
There are two songs by Mya that will always and forever be my jams. This first one is "Fallen" (that track is still fire!). Yeah, she was basically a stalker in the video, but we'll chalk that up to artistic direction and let it slide. Then there's "The Best of Me" (the original and the remix). "Oh no, I can't let you get the best of me/Even tho, deep inside, somethin's dyin' to see/How you flow out them clothes then you put it on me/Feelings comin' on strong. I know that it's wrong. I can't let you get the best of me".
That? That right there? It's oh-so-fitting for the points that I'm about to make. I think every single person reading this (whether they choose to admit it or not) has settled far more than they ever intended to. Settled when it came to their career. Settled when it came to their relationships (both romantic as well as platonic). Even settled when it came to their overall standards and expectations. And shoot, where did it get us? Right where writer Maureen Dowd once told us that it would—"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." (Ain't that the truth?!)
And why do so many of us settle? Because we don't remember some truths about life and ourselves when it comes to making certain types of choices. And when the truth isn't what's guiding you, some form of deception is bound to take over. When that happens, literally, all hell breaks loose.
Let's do something about that today so that the truth of what you're deserving of can finally and fully set you free!
1.God Has Your Best Interest at Heart. Always.
Although not all of us share the same religious beliefs, according to Pew Research, nine out of every 10 Americans still believe in a higher power; something that is bigger and far greater than they are. That said, one popular saying that drives me absolutely batty is, "When God closes a door, He opens a window." Umm, the God who the Bible says can top all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21) is gonna close a door and then downgrade? Uh-uh. If a door gets shut, only a bigger one is headed your way!
I know what it's like to be blindsided, disappointed or just totally knocked out for the count. But if there is one free-setting truth that you can—and should—hold on to, it's the fact that God is not going to allow something to leave you without replacing it with something better. Maybe not immediately but when the time is right. And best. According to Him—first.
2.You Are the Only “You” There Has Ever Been and Will Ever Be
Le sigh. I know parents who tell their children things like, "There is always going to be prettier or smarter than you." Listen, I was a child once and there is nothing even remotely comforting or beneficial about taking that approach to a little one's self-esteem. Besides, it ain't even true. Each of us are individuals and, there never was and never will be someone who is exactly like us. This means that no, there isn't someone who can top you because you are an original. That makes you totally incomparable.
And since there is nothing or no one like you, why in the world would you want to settle for anything or someone who doesn't honor you as such?
3.Self-Love Doesn’t Just Set the Bar; It Raises It Too
When you have a big personality or a strong voice, people don't get that you can still struggle with low self-esteem. Whenever I'm asked to explain how that is possible, I usually say something along the lines of, "Just because I don't care what you think, that doesn't automatically mean I think highly of myself." And when you don't think highly of yourself, you tend to do something else that I sometimes say—"You only end up bending over backwards when your bar is too low."
If there's one thing that "settlers" have in common with one another, it's the fact that they don't love themselves enough. Self-love isn't about taking selfies every day or posting quotes on the topic to social media every chance you get. When I think of self-love, the Love Chapter in the Bible (I Corinthians 13) is what immediately comes to mind. It's about being patient, kind and "never failing" your own self before trying to extend those graces to others.
Take it from me, when you love yourself, it's very hard to settle for less than you deserve. You love yourself too much to dishonor your being in that fashion.
4.Fulfilling Your Purpose Should Never Be Up for Negotiation
Purpose is a pretty loaded word. But a simple way to define it is "the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc." Recently, I was doing a premarital counseling session with a couple. It is obvious that they love each other very much. Still, I encouraged them to pump the brakes a bit because the wife-to-be is not very supportive of her fiancé's purpose. She was more into him doing what makes more money rather than what leaves him truly fulfilled.
If you've been used to settling for so long that you don't even know what kind of red flags to look out for, this is a blaring one. Avoid ANYONE and ANYTHING who encourages—and by "encourage", what I really mean is tempt—you to not thrive in your purpose. The right man, the right job, the right church, the right job—one way that you will truly know that all of these things are indeed right for you is if they support you in fulfilling your purpose. If they don't and you remain…you already know what you're doing to yourself.
5.If It Doesn’t Make You Better, You Don’t Need It
Let me put a disclaimer up on this one. Some things that challenge you or make you uncomfortable will still ultimately make you a better person, so don't take this to mean that you should run from every person, place, thing or idea that doesn't make you feel good all of the time. What I'm saying is, if you're involved in or even merely entertaining something or someone and you can't think of even one way that they are improving your way of life—or worse, they are making it worse—you need to let it/them go. Stat.
This is kind of where the whole "some things are for a reason, season or lifetime" statement comes into play. I know of one relationship, in particular, that was really sending me through it for a season. But it also caused me to do some serious self-evaluating and growing. Once I realized what that person was there to teach me, it was time to move on. How could I tell? Because it got to a point where I could no longer see any silver-lining-reasons for keeping them in my life; things stopped being growing pains and started becoming straight-up painful.
If you see your character becoming better via something or someone, that's a good thing. But if you're starting to question your worth or value, or you feel like you're simply wasting a colossal amount of time remaining stuck, this is one more sign that you are settling.
6.When It’s Right, Your Mind, Body and Spirit Will Be in Harmony
I'm a firm believer that our beings are trinities in the sense that our mind, body and spirit were designed to be in sync with one another. That's why, it's important to pay attention to what all three of them have to "say" about the decisions that we make. Your mind may want a particular kind of food, but what does your body have to say about it? Your body may want a certain man, but is your spirit sending up red flags?
It might sound cliché to let peace be your guide in everything that you do, but believe me when I tell you that there is a ton of truth to that. I don't care what person, place, thing or idea that you're seriously considering, if all "three of you" cannot unanimously agree that it's a good idea…something is…up. And by that I mean that something is setting you up to let you down.
7.Love Does Not Hurt. Faith Is Not Blind.
I am a spiritual—and Scriptural—person. And so, it irritates me to no end whenever I hear people say things like love hurts or faith is blind. The Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:7-11) and, as far as faith goes, it's a spiritual principle too (Hebrews 11:1); it's not about aimlessly moving about in this world, but trusting in a higher Source that, if you don't get what you want, things will work out for the best (which is the textbook definition of hope and you can't have faith without hope being involved).
So, if you know that God is love and that He loves you, and that, at the end of the day, if you don't get what you want, it will still all work out for your good, how could you possibly want to settle for less?
8.You Were Made to Be a Haven of Passion and Peace (Both. Not Either Or.)
On the surface, this might seem like an odd one, but just hear me out for a sec. When you think of passion, what comes to mind? Powerful emotions? Strong desires? Great sex? All of these things are good, but in the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
I can't tell you how many times I remained in a toxic relationship because a man made me climb the walls or how many poor business decisions I made because, while an opportunity to get my writing out may have sounded good, I didn't pay attention to financial red flags (like a company's reputation for not paying on time or not reading contracts before signing them).
Many of us feel like passion and peace are polar opposites, but that's not the case at all. One of the best ways to know if something you're passionate about is truly right for you is it will create an element of peace in all other areas of your life.
Passion and peace aren't enemies. They are accountability partners that help us to keep everything in balance.
9.Settling Is Always About Accepting Less Than You Deserve
I can't tell you how many people—men and women alike—have stayed in the most ridiculous relationships based on the twisted logic of, "I've put all of this time into it and I'm afraid this might be my last shot." Last shot at…what? Remaining in something mediocre when you could be in something fabulous?
"Deserve" is an interesting word. It can mean that we are worthy of a reward or a punishment. What I've come to realize is our self-esteem levels oftentimes dictate what we truly believe that we are deserving of.
When you think highly of yourself, you tend to believe that you are worthy of the best. When you think the opposite, you settle.
And trust me, based on what you settle for, it can end up feeling just like life is punishing you. If you know that you don't feel as good about yourself as you should, take some time out to focus on nothing other than self-care. Once you start investing in yourself more, your standards and expectations will rise and settling will be less of an issue for you.
10.A Life Full of Dignity Is a Life Well-Lived
Dignity. It's one of those words that doesn't come up much. Oh, but it should. When you live with dignity, it means that you have self-respect and that you treat yourself like you are worthy. It also means that you are a person of character. If you are dignified, you tend to only want to be treated in a dignified manner.
So, if you're like Pauletta (from Being Mary Jane) was, and you're known to put Post-it Notes all around your home, this week, make sure to put "dignity" on one of them.
Maybe hop on Etsy and get a T-shirt with a Scripture that references that very point on it (there's a cool one here). A lot of people settle for less because they forget to apply self-respect to what presents itself to them—person, place, thing or idea. But believe me, the moment that you do, that "settle thing" will become less and less of a lifestyle pattern.
You'll be willing to wait for what will honor you, just as much as you already honor yourself.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Featured image by Getty Images
- 15 Ways to Stop Settling for Less in Dating and Relationships ... ›
- 5 Steps to Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve | HuffPost Life ›
- Never Settle For Less: 4 Strategies to Achieve Your Desires ›
- You shouldn't settle for less and this is why | by EB Johnson, NLP-MP ›
- How To Stop Settling For Less Than You Deserve - Kelle's Space ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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