Why do we Settle?

We know what we want in life, yet far too often we accept much less.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

In any aspect of our lives, why would we settle for anything less than we desire? We have this one life, this one shot to make it good, yet we frequently accept far less than we’ve envisioned. We go to a car dealership having decided that we want a black convertible, but leave with a green minivan. We head into a job interview knowing that we have the experience and skillset to request a $100K annual salary, yet we sign an offer for $62,000. Claiming that we want a healthy, fulfilling romantic relationship, we continue to make questionable dating choices and find ourselves with people that stress us out, hurt us, and offer very little of what we look for in a significant other. 


There are several reasons we settle:

We’re tired. Sometimes we just get tired of fighting, tired of “playing the game,” tired of being disappointed. So we concede, and we accept whatever comes to us easiest because we don’t feel we have the energy to travel the more difficult path.

We’re lazy. Hard truth. We’ve never even tried the more difficult path because we just don’t feel like doing anything that requires more than minimal effort. We quit on ourselves before even beginning.

We don’t believe that what we want is attainable. Maybe we’ve tried and failed, multiple times. Perhaps we’ve been fooled into thinking someone was a person that they did not turn out to be, multiple times. To feel certain, and then be proven wrong messes with our psyche. So, now, we don’t think what we want actually even exists.

We’re afraid. Failure is scary. Heartbreak is a preferably avoidable devastation. However, playing it safe leads to regret – which is far more terrifying. 

We don’t believe we deserve what we want. We’ve allowed others to convince us, and have even convinced ourselves that we are not worthy of all that we seek. Despite the work we’ve done, on ourselves and in our lives, we listen to that little voice in the back of our heads that tells us we aren’t good enough.

We’re not prepared to receive what we want. We walk into that dealership wanting that convertible sports car with nothing but a 400 credit score and a part-time job – Clearly not having put ourselves in a position to obtain it.

We’re impatient. Nothing worth having comes easy, or quickly. We get anxious and force things, skip steps and cheat the process. Patience is not simply about waiting, but about our attitude and behavior in doing so.

We mislabel our settling as “compromise.” These two are not synonymous. Compromise is meeting in the middle. It is not accepting things we’ve deemed unacceptable, ignoring red flags and allowing our needs to be placed on the backburner. If what you get is not even close to what you want, it’s settling.

Prepare yourself. Do the work and trust the process. Then, find the courage to act on the belief that what you deserve and desire is not only out there, but will come to you. 

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Belkis Clarke-Mitcham: “Let’s talk about what we feed our minds”

by Ben Ari

How to Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills in a Pandemic: A Day in the Life of a Psychologist.

by Rebecca L. Berger, Ph.D.

Settling Will Change Your Life

by Kirsten Trammell

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.