Settle For Mediocrity?
“I am a one-man woman. My man is not a one-woman man. I wish I didn’t love him so much.” Graffiti on a wall. A cry for help. That afternoon, there was a woman on TV whose husband kept complaining to her that she was fat. She didn’t look fat to me. She looked pleasingly plump, but not three hundred pounds. It turned out that he had a girlfriend on the side.
“No man or woman is worth your tears, and the one who is, won’t make you cry.”
I wondered why the woman on TV allowed this man to treat her this way. Someone else wondered too, and asked her. Her answer was that her husband was the best she thought she could get.
Her attitude about herself caused her to settle for a mediocre marriage. Graffiti Girl believed that this two-timing wonder was the best she could have, or she would not have put up with him.
SETTLING FOR SECOND BEST
We may settle for less than the best, in one area or another. We may have jobs that cause us unhappiness. Maybe it’s relationships. Whatever it is, settling for a mediocre life is not the answer. The following reasons seem to be the cause for a willingness to allow this behavior.
- We need the security this situation allows.
- We need attention so badly we will put up with abuse.
- We believe that we deserve this behavior.
- We are afraid of change, of taking a risk. We do not believe that we can cope.
Ask yourself if these reasons apply to you. We all have vulnerabilities. However, consider how much your vulnerabilities are influencing your life. Being vulnerable may make you open to abuse. You may not realize this and not willing to believe others who tell you, but Graffiti Girl and the woman on TV were so insecure, so hungry for attention, they allowed another person to verbally and emotionally abuse them. By allowing your vulnerabilities to direct your life, you give abusers permission to treat you badly. Not only will your needs go unmet; you add the problem of abuse to your life.
What are your choices? You are reacting. Not in a “hit your thumb with a hammer and swear” reaction. Just like these women, you have needs. You do your best to fill those needs. You react.
There is a military concept called OODA. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. This was originally a self-defense concept against an enemy, but it can be used for our purposes. Let’s take Graffiti Girl and apply this concept to her situation.
- OBSERVE. Observation needs to be accurate and complete. Graffiti Girl knows that something is wrong. She is crying out for help. She observes that she is unhappy with her boyfriend’s behavior. Her observations need to include recognition of her pain, and a desire for change.
- ORIENT. Her next step is to consider her options and her state of mind. Her neediness must be considered. She has a boyfriend. She wants a boyfriend. She needs the attention he gives her. This makes her vulnerable. She has to understand that she will not get value and appreciation from another person until she values and appreciates herself.
- DECIDE. Based on her needs and her ability to get her needs met, Graffiti Girl can decide what she wants to do to correct the situation. She can decide that her boyfriend’s behavior is unacceptable. She can create a goal to meet her own needs and become self-sufficient, to be less needy.
- ACT. Now she must create a plan to meet her goal. She can improve her self-image. She can read self-help books and listen to motivational speakers that help her believe in and appreciate herself. She can look at her talents, abilities and accomplishments, or she can accomplish something. This will help her recognize her value. She can go from settling for mediocrity to striving and achieving excellence in her quality of life. Once she appreciates herself, she no longer needs another person. She is complete within herself. She will then be in a position to find someone who appreciates her as much as she appreciates herself. If that doesn’t happen, she can meet social needs through friendships. She has moved from a mediocre relationship to a fulfilling one.
“The secret to success does not lie in inflating your dreams to grandiose levels, but in choosing your direction wisely, while humbly and faithfully taking one step at a time.”
If it is a job that is causing a problem, OBSERVE where you are now, and decide what is wrong with the job. Next ORIENT yourself to your options. Look for another job. If you don’t think that you can find one without needed changes, make the changes necessary. Then DECIDE on a plan of action. Consider night school or plan to work at your current job and learn all you can. Make advancements; even make a lateral move to work around the situation. Create a portfolio or connections, whatever it takes to improve your ability to get another job. Now it is time to ACT. Set a deadline to look for and get a better job in one year. Your plan will include whatever you need. This makes the circumstances bearable because you are using the situation and time to advance yourself. You are making a choice. You are no longer reacting to the situation, but developing a proactive approach to life.
“A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn’t will find an excuse.” ― Stephen Dolley, Jr.
Do you remember the wife on TV who was overweight? She followed these concepts. She lost one hundred sixty pounds in one day; she divorced her husband. She became proactive and gave up her mediocre life.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Are you settling for less than what is best for you?
- What would you like to change in your life?
- How will you apply Observe, Orient, Decide and Act to have a more meaningful life?
[box type=”bio”] Betty Eddy is a published author and member of the Netiv community. Her work as a life coach has given her unique insight into for self help. In her book “Untying the Knots of Life” she deals with concepts which guides the reader though self discovery. [/box]