Desire, respect, admiration, infatuation, and “like” are all beautiful. To enjoy them for their own sake isn’t “settling.” Honoring the pit stops between all and nothing help you better identify when “all” shows up. — Blog, The Skinny Black Girl, What I’ve Learned: The Farewell To My Twenties Edition
I read the quote above a few days and it gave me pause. I never considered the non-relationships in my life to be “pit stops,” but perhaps I should reconsider. I was having brunch with a friend last weekend and we laughed as I summarized my current manuscript and how there is much more to say in the book about my non-relationships than the actual, legitimate ones. It always works that way. The situations that completely screw you over and never fulfill you produce the most material. Go figure.
However, while I do agree that desire, respect, admiration, infatuation and “like” are all beautiful, I also think it’s important to be the kind of person who can clearly recognize when you are settling. Each of us has a completely different barometer for settling, but we all have one. We all possess those internal incisors that gnaw away at us when we know we deserve more or better.
I came to terms not too long ago with the fact that I am a very “all or nothing” person. It’s my best and worst trait. But, by being the kind of person who is “all or nothing,” most romantic situations in my life can very easily be dumped into the “settling” pile. It’s one thing to know when I am settling and quite another to be proactive and get out of the situation. I can’t say I’ve always been successful at the latter.
People can tell you when you’re settling. People can tell you when you deserve more. Your friends can try to wake you up out of your stupor and encourage you to seek out more. But, there is something powerful about being able to tell all of those things to yourself. Because the people you love aren’t always around. In the wee hours of the morning when your conscience starts chomping away at you, there’s no one else around to tell you to run for your life and reach for something better. You have to be able to do it for your damn self. Self-awareness is a requisite of healthy adulthood.
The pit stops, or non-relationships, can truly be beautiful. They can be delicious and sexy and coated in lust. They can be fun and exciting. They can be meaningful and telling and life-changing. But, you have to be in a mind space to absorb them for what they are and for what they are not. Because there is nothing delicious or fun about thinking too much or waiting for your phone to buzz or pulling your hair out loving someone who does not have the capacity to love you back. That is not beautiful. That is dangerous. And, that is settling.