Friday, February 24, 2006

Settling

It's a funny thing about life. If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, that's what it will give you.

-W. Somerset Maugham


Years (and years) ago, I read a book titled "Something More," by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It's a book with a mulititude of different topics, all of which should help a person learn to know and love themselves. It's really a great book, although, looking back, I definitely feel I was too young to fully understand the complexity and importance of this book. However, in this book, there were two topics that stood out in my mind, one of which I am going to write about in this entry. (the other, perhaps another day.) This particular topic struck a cord with me at that time, because I felt I was living what she was writing about even at the age of 19, that I was doing something right. She wrote about settling. (for those that have the book, page 153.)

Many situations over the years have led me back to the idea of settling. Fortunately for me, I rarely feel I am settling. The idea of settling is this "we do not lose ourselves all at once, we lose ourselves day by day, we settle for loveless marriages, a dead-end job, and someone else's opinion of our gifts, dreams and what should make us happy. We settle for a passive, rather than a passionate life." The line "someone else's opinion of our gifts, dreams and what should make us happy" is a line that makes me think of so many women who are with a man for all of the wrong reasons.

Can you imagine a "relationship" where you settle for not doing things that you want to do, because it's easier than fighting your mate for it? For example, you don't cut your hair, because he likes it long, although you'd love to try out short hair, you know he would be mortified and would probably stop talking to you if you ever did that. What about a favorite TV show? Take American Idol, say you LOVE that show, but your mate refuses to watch it, so rather than going to a friends house and visiting family and watching it, you stay and miss out, the problem is that you're not staying because you'd rather spend time with your boyfriend, you stay because you don't want to fight. Can you imagine not spending time with your family because he doesn't want to? I can't.

Why do women stay with men who truly offer nothing to them at all? I know many woman have a fear of lonliless and it's that fear that makes them live a life unfilled. I'm not saying men fulfill women, but men, if you have found the right one, will help ignite a woman's soul. A woman with a supportive, loving man, will freely share her dreams and aspirations with her mate and he will listen and encourage. A woman with a man who only cares about himself, with no aspirations of his own, will laugh and snicker and make fun. Here is a quote in this book I read that explains settling so perfectly, "her lover appeared indifferent or insensitive to ideas and causes of deep importance to her, that her chosen family and friends weren't comfortable in his company and that he really did nothing to extend himself to them, even though he must have known how it would have pleased her. But she continued to hope-as we all do-that somehow he would change. After all, hadn't she?"

And she had changed. For someone who didn't care for her.

My question is this...at what point in our lives are we given that choice of paths to choose from? When I was 16, I started dating an 18 year old. We got along very well and had alot of the same interests. He was not a huge fan of my family, but that did not stop me from attending get togethers, etc. For whatever reason, and I really don't know why, I had always told myself that I would never stand for any boyfriend of mine to yell vulgarities at me. Well, one night, my boyfriend and I stood in my driveway arguing about something and he yelled "FUCK YOU" to my face. Without a second thought, I turned and walked away and went into my house, I didn't yell back, I just walked away. I could have reacted a million different ways. But it was at that moment that two things happened, one, he never spoke to me that way again. Two, I never expected anything less, not from myself, not from my boyfriends. I chose the path to stand up for myself and walk away. I didn't start crying, I didn't beg him to apologize, I did not scream back. I walked directly into a path that was right for my soul. Not into a path that would damage my soul.

I know I can thank my Mom for giving me my spirit, my knowledge of knowing that I am just as good as anybody else, if not better. (she still tells me I could be a celebrity! LOL!)
How do I do the same for my daughter? How do I make sure Anna lives a passionate life, not a passive life? How do I make sure her husband wants one thing, her happiness? I need to tell her she is good. She is beautiful, she is sacred. And to never settle for anything.

4 Comments:

  • At 2/25/2006 07:59:00 AM, Blogger Lynette said…

    Wow Beth. Very impressive blog. I could not imagine being in a relationship where my opinions and dreams didn't matter. Makes me realize what a wonderful husband I really do have.

     
  • At 2/25/2006 10:03:00 AM, Blogger christy said…

    Beth, your very deep with this post. But it touches on a great subject. I really, truly am greatful to have a husband that is most interested in my happiness. We might not get along perfectly all the time and we might butt heads occastionally, but in the end it's all good.

    I think that we always want better for our children and I think about it often. I am giving my child the tools he'll need to turn into the best person he can be? I guess you don't think about that stuff (as much) when they're all snuggly and tiny, but when they start taking notice of the world and everything going on around them, it gets more serious.

    You area an amazingly smart and genuine woman that I am so glad to call my friend!

     
  • At 2/25/2006 02:11:00 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    HELL YES sister friend. Totally. I'm right there with you - I think often of how I will consciously parent Lucy in particular to be a strong, independent woman.

    Here's to never settling!!!

     
  • At 2/25/2006 06:32:00 PM, Blogger Tracy said…

    What a great post. I will have to find this book and read it. Sounds like something I would like. Noah and Anna are so lucky to have such a smart mommy. I pray I can teach both Emma and Timmy to never settle.

    I feel very blessed to know you Beth. You are such a great person with so much wonderful insight to offer. Things that pass through my mind, you post about and make me think much deeper. I love that because I am then conscious of it throughout the day.

     

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