Please Don't Settle
By Thao Nguyen
I opened up recently about my fear of not being anyone’s favorite person. But that pales in comparison to my previous biggest fear, which was that I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s time. I’ve been burned a lot of times in my life by people who called themselves my best friends. They would act happy to be around me, but then turn around and talk crap about me and complain about having to spend time with me. It crushed me every time I found out the truth about how these “best friends” felt about me, and it’s caused me to question the motives of everyone in my life for years. I was always terrified that people only hung out with me out of pity or obligation, not because they actually enjoy my company. This fear caused me to become an annoyingly timid people pleaser, and it also caused me to settle for less than I deserve in my relationships.
I let people walk all over me, mistreat me, patronize me, and disregard me; all because I was afraid that if I stood up for myself, they wouldn’t want to be around me anymore. (I fully understood that this type of behavior is counterintuitive -- who genuinely enjoys spending time with a pushover with no confidence?) And this was most clear in my romantic relationships. See, one of the reasons I’ve never been in a relationship is because I settled for guys who weren’t worth my time. I knew that I would never get into a committed relationship with these men because they were immature, selfish, or just playing games. But I was so desperate for the fake validation I would feel from getting their attention, that I let myself waste time with these guys again and again.
I tried to justify my actions by saying I was trying to give guys who weren’t my type a chance. However, I knew that I was hurting myself and using them, so it only made me feel worse about myself. So I took a long, long break from dating and started spending quality time with myself. Once I learned to love myself and not rely on others for validation, I started realizing that I am worth people’s time. I didn’t allow others to mistreat me anymore and I stopped giving chances to immature guys who didn’t know how to respect me. Yes I lost a few “friends” along the way and I missed out on some dates, but I also started to really appreciate the people who did treat me right. Those people empower me, and help me to see that it’s okay to be me around them. They never made me feel like I was difficult to love.
Realizing that I am worth someone’s time was probably the greatest lesson I could ever learn. It’s given me ambition, confidence, and clarity. So don’t settle. Don’t settle for anyone who does you wrong just because you’re afraid of being alone. Because being alone, but keeping your dignity? That’s way better for you than spending time with someone who takes advantage of your insecurity.