Who You Are is What You Settle For, You Know? By Sandra Wells

Ink on Scrap Paper – Words: Janice Joplin

I will be featuring Different writers on the first day of each month. Today’s post was written by Sandra Wells. Enjoy!

This quote, although profound, sounds generic. It’s about knowing who you are and not settling for less than what you deserve. It’s easy to see this quote coming from Janis Joplin, a woman who succeeded and didn’t let anyone else define what it was that she deserved.  

I think it’s tempting for us to visualize a quote like that by focusing on other people who may want to hold us down. But the focus of the quote is you not others. The part that makes it work isn’t the other people, it is about being clear on who you are and who you are not. For Janice Joplin settling for less wasn’t about being rich and famous, for her settling for less was living her life by being her full self.

What stops me, and most people, is not what other people think I deserve or even what I think I deserve. What stops me is what I think I can handle and my emotional reactions to what I believe other people will think. If I were to paraphrase this quote into my own words , it would read, “I ask for whatever doesn’t make me too embarrassed, uncomfortable or is clearly within my perception of my skillset.” The real challenge here is being objective and honest enough with ourselves to discover where those limits exist.

How can I tell I am settling? When I continually put something off, I need to acknowledge that settling is the same as saying no. I need to try and discover why I am saying no. I need to pay attention to my inner narratives about other people who are pushing my boundaries. When I find myself saying things like, “I could do that,” realize that it is those moments I need to pay attention. What is happening is when I get close to boundaries in my own day-to-day life, it is likely that I am saying no.

This type of exploration can help us be honest with ourselves about the ways we may be settling for less in life. And perhaps from there, we can challenge ourselves to ask more important and different questions. Instead of “what if I fail,” or “what if I can’t handle it,” maybe the question is “how will I feel if I NEVER do this?” Or an even scarier question is “what happens if I do this and I succeed?”

Sandra can be found on Instagram @wellsvsandra or at sandra@sandravwells.com

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