by Kristen Houghton
“I know a couple who bought a house in which they were never really happy, in a neighborhood they disliked, all because they were unwilling to keep looking for the house they really wanted. They convinced themselves that the house and neighborhood were 'good enough.' What a shame they settled for second best! A few months later they saw a house they would have loved in the area they had wanted to live. To make matters worse, it fell well within the same price range as the house they had just bought. If they had waited and kept looking they would not have had to settle for just 'good enough.' They defeated their own goal by not trying to find what would make them happy.
We all know people whose attitude in life is more than a little on the negative side when it comes to getting what they want. They are 'settlers.' Rather than expect the good things in life, they are willing to settle for 'good enough' in places to live, careers, cars and even relationships. They give up too easily and never really get what they do want. 'Good enough' and happiness are not a good mix.
Surprisingly getting the best for yourself doesn't have a lot to do with how much money you spend. In fact it has everything to do with self-love and the knowledge that you deserve having the best you can get. Knowing that you are worth having what will make you happier is not selfish; it is simply common sense. To get the best only means that you have to be determined to follow your heart and counsel and not simply settle for less.
What you are actually doing by settling for good enough is giving yourself permission to take only second-best in every area of your life from spouses to careers. Sometimes it comes down to lack of self worth; you feel, erroneously, that you don't deserve anything better. You have a relationship with someone even though that person is not good for you. You see the partnership as good enough because you feel unworthy of having anything better. At other times your own indecisiveness (or laziness) about goals allows other people, family and friends, to influence your choices.
A good example of allowing others to influence you is in the choice of career. Did you settle for one that you really didn't want because that is what you were advised to do by friends or relatives? Sometimes those who 'have your best interests at heart' are the ones who influence you to settle for what you don't want. If you wanted to have a career that brought in less money but gave you great personal fulfillment and satisfaction and were persuaded to go into one 'where the money was' you have settled for good enough. You have not satisfied your own needs because you settled for second best.
Maureen Dowd, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times and winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, describes succinctly what happens when you allow yourself to accept 'good enough' and settle for second best in your life choices. She says: "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." Excellent comment and one that you should remember every time you think good enough is an acceptable alternative. Be satisfied to satisfy yourself and never settle for anything that is only 'good enough'."