Romantic relationships, careers and friendships are all important aspects of our daily lives. They motivate us to improve ourselves and fulfill us by giving our lives purpose.
However, Americans are seemingly very unhappy with their decisions when it comes to these matters.
Only sixty percent of people in 2014 could say with certainty that they were in a happy marriage, which was down from sixty-five percent just two years earlier. Furthermore, fifty-one percent of Americans who are employed are not satisfied with their careers and admit to only doing the bare minimum while in the workplace.
But why do humans stay in situations or relationships that no longer fulfill us? Instead of sticking out an unhappy relationship or staying in a career they don't feel a passion for, why don't we just move on and do something new?
Sadly, it's because we find it easier to settle for less than what we want and what we truly deserve.
It's far easier for our brains to convince us to keep what we already have rather than put the effort in to realize what we want and to put the steps in place to achieve it.
Here are some of the excuses our minds tell us in order to convince us to settle for less and how to combat these thoughts with the inspiring truth: we deserve more.
1. "This is the best I'm going to get."
We often tell ourselves that what we have now is the best we're ever going to get, but we simply cannot know this. Unless we strive to attain more, we will never know what we are capable of achieving.
2. "I'm too old; I need to be established by now."
We often have this dumb expectation to have all of our i's dotted and t's crossed by the time we're in our 30s; we expect to be in a perfect relationship with our dream career and have a dazzling social life. But this simply isn't attainable for a lot of people. For most, it takes time to discover what they truly want in life and to undergo some serious trial and error. Never put an expiration date on your dreams.
3. "It's too late."
Along the same vein as number two, you might think that it's too late to go back to school to become a pastry chef or leave your long-term relationship of over ten years. But let me tell you, it's never too late. You can restart your life at any point, even if it might seem impossible. You'll just have to put more work into eventually getting what you want: happiness.
4. "Getting what I really want is too much work."
It might seem like a super daunting task to achieve your goals and get out of your current situation. But if you are determined enough, the work you put in will be minuscule compared to the reward that you receive.
5. "I'm not talented enough."
Low self-esteem can play a huge role in unhappiness. When you think you don't have what it takes to succeed in something you want, it's difficult to believe how capable you are. Just because there are people out there who already have what you want doesn't mean that you aren't talented, capable or deserving enough to achieve it.
6. "It's too scary to change things."
The unknown is a scary thing. We don't like the idea of uncertainty; we want to know how change will affect us and yearn to control all outcomes. But life isn't so simple. Being afraid is normal and fear should not discourage us from taking a leap of faith in ourselves.
7. "I need to do what my parents did."
Although you get your DNA from them, you are not your parents. Therefore you do not need to follow in their footsteps if you don't wish to do so. If your mom or dad wants you to run the family business or become a doctor but you have other plans, you need set them straight. Ultimately, you only have one life. Live it for you and not for your parents.
8. "I need to do what my friends are doing."
It's super tempting to compare your successes and achievements thus far to those around you, especially your closest friends. If your seemingly happy best friend has her Master's, a spouse and a mortgage and you're still struggling to pay rent for your tiny studio then it can feel as if you need those things to be successful. But comparison is the thief of joy. Every person is on their own life path and one person's idea of happiness does not match up with everyone else's.
9. "I've invested too much time and energy into my current situation."
A sad truth in this world is that things change. You can spend years toiling away at cultivating a relationship, friendship or career only to find yourself completely detached and miserable because of it. The time you spend in a relationship or job that doesn't end up working out for you in the long-run should never be considered failures. Rather, they are valuable learning experiences.
10. "I can't live my life any other way."
Denying that you have the ability to live the life you deserve also stems from fear of the unknown. Maybe you've grown so comfortable in your current situation that the thought of no longer being in your comfort zone makes you physically ill. But you must understand that life is not meant to be lived in your comfort zone; growth is impossible that way. If you never put yourself in new situations, you'll never grow.
11. "I don't want to start over."
Starting over is usually considered a good thing; getting a fresh start in one or more areas of your life can drastically improve your circumstances. But it's easy for your mind to convince you that starting over is too hard and too much work. Plus, you never know if starting over will actually bring you happiness. But the risk is worth it if you find yourself in a rut. Starting over in a career or relationship can give you so many opportunities that you would not have had otherwise.
12. "I don't want to hurt people close to me."
Changing your current situation might mean hurting a significant other, family member, friend or coworker. But your happiness comes first. If you aren't happy with yourself and your own choices, you won't be able to give your genuine friendship and love and energy to others.
13. "I don't deserve better than what I already have."
The ultimate excuse you will use to convince yourself to settle for less than you deserve is that you don't deserve anything you truly want.
Low self-esteem (and on the more serious level, anxiety and depression) can severely lower your expectations an make you feel as if you are simply not good enough in any way to feel happiness or achieve success. It convinces you that what you have now is the best you'll ever have and that you should be grateful to even have a job or relationship, to begin with.
But the truth is that if you're feeling fed up or uninspired by your life, then that means you do deserve more.
You deserve the life you have always imagined to have, you deserve to feel fulfilled and you deserve to feel unconditionally loved.