“Don’t waste your life. No one chooses mediocrity but many settle for it. Never settle.” ~ Anonymous ~
“Dream big! Never give up! Follow your heart! You can accomplish anything!” Motivational platitudes are a dime a dozen. As often as we hear these inspirational cheers for greatness, you’d think more of us would actually live rock star lives, and yet, most of us are just getting by. Our lives are decent, good even and we’re perfectly happy right where we are.
Why do we settle for good when life could be great? When did a good enough life become good enough? Why aren’t more of us fighting for our dreams, taking risks, and creating lives we love?
Because it’s easier to settle for what is than to fight for what could be.
Mediocrity is Comfortable
We’ve slipped into mediocrity without even realizing it. Life is hard. Parenting is brutal. It takes a special kind of woman to thrive in that kind of heat, to let the daily challenges forge her into an unstoppable force, a girl on fire. Most of us don’t adapt, we settle. We don’t see any other way. We work so hard to just survive and slowly, the desires we once held close begin to die. The life we pictured a distant memory, forgotten like last week’s dream – vague, foggy, a feeling more than a story, and just out of reach.
Mediocrity feels like welcome relief for our tired souls. We look around and seemingly everyone else is suffering. We bond over our co-misery, glorify the hot mess mom, and fall farther and farther away from the woman we once longed to be. Shared struggle has become our new form of connection.
Regena Thomashauer writes, “to relate with other women, we must connect around our mistreatment and despair. Bad news is our entry point; we have absolutely no shame about leading with the negative. This kind of cultural agreement is another form of enslavement. It binds us to negativity, instead of our potential. When a woman is taught by her culture to only communicate about the negative, she begins to place “positive value” in the negative. It becomes our negative experiences that buy us access into relationship with other women.”
However, what you focus on, you get more of. Instead of using our struggles as opportunities to grow into the women we want to be, we let the challenges take us out of the game. We look to society to confirm “it’s just the way it is” and then spend all our time and energy glorifying our misery in an attempt to bond with other women and not feel so alone.
We come to identify ourselves as part of that group and then make decisions in accordance with what “people like me” would do. Remaining comfortable, in the status quo, and yes mediocre, drives all of our decisions, even to our own detriment.
Thomashauer also writes, “We don’t dare reveal anything good about ourselves, or our lives because we don’t want other women to feel bad. We assume that there isn’t enough good to go around, so our radiance is a threat to other women. We don’t want her to hate us for having a great life, so we stay focused on everything that’s going wrong.”
And so we self sabotage and hold ourselves back. We settle for mediocrity. It’s easier to stay exactly where we are then build lives we love. We are so scared of what life will look like if we dare to follow our dreams. We’re afraid to shine. We’re afraid to fail. And we’re afraid to get everything we want, not only because we don’t feel worthy, but because we don’t want to stand out and rise above the rest.
As Marianne Williamson so beautiful writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Even if we want more for ourselves, fighting our way out of mediocrity feels like a betrayal to those we’ve spent so many years identifying with. We would rather stay small than make others uncomfortable.
Mediocrity Always Attacks Excellence
We’ve settled. We aren’t living our best lives, not even close. We try and talk ourselves into accepting what is, we let guilt keep us in our place and our dreams locked away, but our soul knows better. Our soul knows that we were made for more than mediocrity and our soul knows that we have gone astray. Our soul is pretty pissed that we’re wasting our potential and are settling for far less than we want and deserve. And our soul is desperately trying to get our attention.
Jealousy, resentment, overwhelm, sadness, fear, stress, guilt, and anger are trying to get your attention. All of these negative feelings are competing, tripping and falling over each other, desperate to call you back to the path of greatness. They are literally screaming at you to get back on track and instead of heeding the warnings, you simply ignore them and accept suffering as just part of life, a part of motherhood.
It’s not. You’re not supposed to feel like shit.
If you feel like shit all the time, it’s because you are far out of alignment with who you are meant to be. You can run from your pain but you can’t hide from it. Only when you start paying attention, listening to your desires, and begin aligning your life with them, will you be free.
Following your jealousy can be a powerful tool towards helping you identify the ways you’ve self abandoned over the years. If you find yourself criticizing other moms or battling that white hot stab of jealousy, ask why? Explore your feelings. What is she doing that you want to do? What about her triggers such a strong reaction and how can you follow those feelings to learn more about yourself?
Your Best Life
Mediocrity is settling for what you think you can get instead of fighting for all you want and deserve. Breaking out of mediocrity does not mean buying into society’s expectations of success or being rich and famous. It means getting really clear at figuring out what you want and need and then not stopping or slowing down until it’s yours. It means returning to your dreams, listening to your soul, trusting your instincts, and following your desires no matter what.
It means daring to dream beyond what is and having the courage to chase what could be. It means leaping when you’d rather lie down, believing when it’s easier to doubt, and committing to nothing short of everything you desire.
The only other question is, how great are you willing to let life get?