Are You Settling In Your Relationship?
Picture this. You walk into a conference room and are told to find a seat. You choose a seat in the third row, and on that seat is a yellow spiral-bound notebook. You look around at the other seats. Some have blue notebooks, some red and some yellow. You think to yourself, “I hate yellow. I wish I had a blue notebook.”
The conference begins and the facilitator says, “If you don’t like the color of your notebook, trade with someone and get the one you want. You deserve to have everything in your life exactly the way you want it.”
How often do you feel that you don’t really get to choose exactly what you want, that you are settling in your relationships? What would your life be like if you had the mindset of deserving to have everything in your life exactly the way you want it?
Are you settling in your relationship?
The Yellow Notebook is just one of the many inspiring chapters in the book, “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”, by Jack Canfield. You may recognize his name as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I am a big fan of this book. I particularly loved the chapter on the yellow notebook. While reading it, I realized that most of my life I have been settling, because I didn’t believe I could have what I really wanted. I was resourceful. I figured if I couldn’t have everything I wanted, I could turn that mediocre thing into something I could live with or learn from. But this idea of not settling? This was a whole new way to look at life. Imagine, deserving to have everything in your life exactly the way you want it. Pretty unfathomable.
I was skeptical. Could we really have everything we want? What about in our relationships? This concept is easy to believe when you observe young children. Toddlers are very curious creatures. They go after what they want. They are constantly picking things up, tasting them, smelling them, until their interest wanes. Then they are onto the next thing that interests them. Toddlers and babies have high self-esteem if they are brought up in a healthy family.
Soon, adults tell them, “Stop! Don’t touch that, put that down, that’s dangerous, sit still, spit that out.” As they get older, parents and teachers tell them, “You’re wrong, I’m right. Pay attention! You are not so smart, because you didn’t get a good grade in math/history/English. You think you can be number one in hockey? Stop being so full of yourself”. Soon, those children become adults who are so used to settling for what they think they deserve, they forget how to dream about what they really want; to choose the blue notebook when yellow is the one they were given.
In my late 20s as I was looking for a husband, I was hopeful. I was searching for my blue notebook, and I found him. But when he broke my heart, I gave up on ever finding what I wanted again. So I settled for yellow. I thought it was good enough. I thought I could somehow make myself love yellow, even though the relationship was flawed from the start. With a weak foundation, the marriage eventually crumbled. I stayed and stayed for 23 years, hoping somehow it would be good enough for me and my three kids.
I now realize that you can’t settle in relationships. You both will suffer. Know yourself and your core values. If you now what you need in a partner, you will know what to look for. Not a long laundry list. Not a specific height or weight requirement. Not the external stuff as much as the internal stuff that character is made of. Find someone with the four or five must-have character traits that are on your list. Know how you want to FEEL when you’re with him/her. And don’t settle for less than that.
Every relationship requires compromising and adapting. Give up your favorite movie to watch one of his, but don’t give up your core values. Compromise on vacation plans, but don’t give up on the things that are most important to you.
I want you to have the love you deserve, to have your dreams of a loving relationship come true. Have the guts to dream as big as you want with no one making you wrong. I believe you deserve to have the most fulfilling love life possible, to truly have your dreams come true.
What’s your dream of your ideal love match? If you have been settling for so long that you can’t even picture him, I can help you define your “blue notebook guy”, and together we can design a plan to help you get from where you are today to finding the love of your life. Dare to dream!