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“If you limit your choice only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” 

The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life —Robert Fritz

Poet and novelist Langston Hughes once wrote that “Life without dreams is like a bird with a broken wing—it can’t fly”. People dream of success, finding the right romantic partner, escape from poverty, relief from physical and emotional pain, healing from addictive behaviors, and a myriad of other goals in life. Many become discouraged, distracted, or defeated in their attempt to create a dream life. They decide to settle for something less. Rather than judge those who lower their expectations, it is important to examine what they are settling for. I once listened to a world-renowned athlete who said that he was not willing to settle for less than being the best ever in his sport, even if it meant the loss of his marriage and family. He did become number 1 in his sport at the expense of his family. Perhaps, he would have been wise to have settled for less. Others have compromised their integrity in order to grasp financial riches. 

Compromise or settling is not always negative. Ultimately, each person must consider the capacity to settle for what is as the aging process advances. Physically, mentally and emotionally you will not be able to respond to life challenges in the same way as you did when you were younger. That is not to suggest that you accept that you cannot achieve goals that you aspire to accomplish. It is to say that you will need to adjust and settle for less productivity in your achievement than when you were younger. Many people take this inevitable reality and create an excuse to prevent them from living an inspired life, choosing to balk at possibility and avoid the fear and struggle that comes with making dreams come true.

As a therapist, historically, I have observed addicts create a sobriety behavioral contract and when they fail to accumulate significant time in sobriety from their addiction, they compromised their expectations in attempt to create a false sense of attainment. Eventually, they returned to full-blown addictive behavior. It is important to pay attention to what you settle for.

Listed are a few concerns to consider about the dreams that you aspire to create:

1. Some people settle for less because they believe they don’t deserve more. This age-old truth has created sabotage for countless numbers of people. Many fall short of realizing their dreams because of age old mistaken beliefs that have never been rooted out. Positive affirmations will only replace negative cognitions when you decide to go within and face the negative message and uncover it’s messenger and give back the misbelief in order to blossom deep belief about who you are and what you deserve in life.

2. Sometimes people settle for less because they find security in self-made comfort zones. What some people experience as comfort others identify as torture. There is the need for you to decide what kind of life you want to live. No matter what the lifestyle you choose, you must be willing to get out of your self made comfort zone to create meaningfulness in your life. Comfort zones are illusions. M.Scott Peck in The Road Less Travelled described the journey of life like a hike through the desert. Many people come to the first oasis and create a life long encampment with the idea that their comfort zone is as much of life that is meant to be. They fail to continue their journey throughout the rest of the desert and to the other side. It is not to say that if one bunkers into the first or second oasis they discover, that it is a wrong choice. It is simply important to examine the nature of existence in that comfort zone. Have you settled for less? Only you can know within your heart of hearts.

3. Fear motivates many who settle for something less than their desired goals. Fear is not meant to be ignored. One can be intimidated and still do what is necessary to fulfill the details of their dream. You cannot be dominated by fear and fulfill your dream. Psychologist Susan Jeffers wrote the book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway making this point. To address unnerving anxiety in the pursuit of dream making, many scale down their vision and settle for less, simply to avoid nagging fear. Leaning into the discomfort of anxiety is the only way to work through the fear that dominates and threatens the possibility of you creating dreams in your life. As a therapist, I work with couples who become mired in a dysfunctional relational dance that promises to end the partnership. Often, either or both succumb to the fear of telling truth to the other that would free them from the painful unhealthy dance because of the painful anxiety attached to being honest and emotionally naked to their partner. The fear of abandonment is too great. So they settle for something less than healing even though the possibility of ending the relationship is likely. They settle for something far less than the dream partnership they imagined! Ultimately, they conclude that giving up their voice and dream relationship they imagined is better than living disconnected from their emotionally unavailable partner.

4. The solution for settling for less is determined in the power of choice. In every circumstance experienced, each of us are extended the power of choice. In the presence of low self-worth, comfort zones, and overwhelming fear, dreams are realized through the power of your choice. Addicts think they have no options when shaken with craving. But as Louise Hay would remind the power of choice is always in the present moment. Right Choices empower self-respect, deepens integrity, and promotes self-respect. High standards are a result of self-worth. 

    Be careful what you settle for and only accept fulfilling dreams that are true to the values of your heart.