Settling for less Print
News - Final Word
Monday, 29 April 2013 14:53
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It’s better to want what you don’t have than to have what you don’t want.

So says Caroline Myss, an American author who has been working in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness for 20 years.

Doesn’t this sort of fly in the face of popular convictions? I mean, who cannot sing along to: “if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”?

But wait, before you think that Caroline is sprouting forth stuff that Wuthering-Heights-kind-of-desperate-yearning is made of . . . she’s not. Actually she’s just asking why people are so willing to settle for less.

Come to think of it, ending up with less than what you wanted cannot always be avoided, because continually getting exactly what you want in every kind of situation is sort of impossible. That’s why it is important to understand that there’s the world of difference between “settling” for something and “choosing” something.

Settling is a passive choice which, according to Caroline, lets you off the hook in the sense that you feel you don’t have to take responsibility for the consequences. You can easily say that you “had no choice”. Making a choice puts you in the driver’s seat.

To make any kind of choice, you have to be clear about what you are truly seeking. Caroline says that you have to name the quest you’re on accurately: love, career, wealth, purpose and meaning. Don’t mix them up.

For example, if you’re really looking for the love of your life, then don’t tell yourself that you’re on a quest for purpose and meaning. It’s not that love is without meaning, but just that another person can never be the source of your meaning and purpose. If you try to make it so, you’ll eventually believe that unless someone loves you, your life has no meaning.

So, how do you know when you’ve found your purpose, presuming you’re searching for it? Caroline says it is when you’re no longer in a position where you’re compromising your integrity by making life choices or choosing circumstances that harm or betray who you really are.

Actually this goes for the job and love situation as well. Your life will only make sense if you do things to feel personal authenticity. It’s only then that you’d be able to feel enthusiastic about whatever it is you’re doing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that enthusiasm is all. “When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality . . . Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Of course you know that settling-for-something scores way low on the enthusiasm scale, don’t you? Then why is it that, knowing this, we settle in any case? Caroline says that when it comes to relationships, people admit to settling for someone who is not really what they wanted, but say that at least they’re not alone.

Even knowing that there is the world of difference between solitude and loneliness, most people avoid being alone. I’m not just talking about relationships here; I mean, you have to be alone to do creative work or to invent something.

Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla said that the secret of invention is being alone; that is when ideas are born. Existential psychologist Rollo May said that to be open to creativity at all, one must overcome the fear of being alone.

Creativity coach Vivien McKnight writes that creativity thrives in solitude because here you can listen to your thoughts, go deep inside yourself and focus on the here and now. She says you have to be silent so that life can speak to you.

Maybe that is what scares people about being alone – that you will start hearing what life is saying to you; that you might realise you’ve ended up in circumstances that betray who you really are.

So, girlfriend, say you wake up one day and realise that your job, your relationships, your life circumstances  . . . that they all compromise your integrity. How did this happen? It happens by settling for something other than what you really want. See, it’s better to want what you don’t have than to settle for what you don’t want.