My 2015 mantras included “stop accepting mediocre” and “if it's not a hell yes, it’s a hell no”. The latter helped me put an end to my indecisiveness (ok fine its still a work in progress but I swear it has improved greatly). And I’ll admit the former is still a work in progress too, so I’m carrying that mantra into 2016 with me, and all the years to come until I finally stop accepting mediocre.
Life is short. Way too short to accept being in a mediocre relationship, working at a mediocre job, or to treat yourself with mediocrity. Why is it that people accept mediocre? And most don’t even realize that they are? I know I sure didn’t until someone else pointed it out to me. At the time, it hit me like a Mack truck. I can remember exactly where I was and how I felt. I was sitting in my car outside of work on my lunch break, on the phone with a life coach. And when she told me it sounded like I was accepting mediocre, I realized she was completely right. It was an eye-opening moment. I was at a job I felt BLEH about with a boss I couldn’t stand, I was dating someone who didn’t treat me all that well, and I was living with roommates I didn’t really care for. I was the queen of accepting mediocre.
Mediocre is comfortable (to a certain extent). It’s easy. You don’t have to quit your job and find a new one. You don’t have to move. You don’t have to put an end to a relationship. But is that really rewarding? Does that really bring you joy and happiness and set your soul on fire? I didn’t think so…
So back to the question of why people accept mediocre. I believe people accept mediocre because they don’t value themselves. They don’t know their own self-worth. If you had a friend in an unhealthy and abusive relationship wouldn’t you tell her to run like hell and never look back? If your sister had a job she dreaded that made her miserable wouldn’t you tell her to look for a new one? So if you recognize that your friends and family are worth more, why don’t you recognize that about yourself?
Over the past year I’ve worked a lot on my relationship with myself, and a large part of that has been learning to see my own self-worth and value myself more. One exercise I’ve included in my daily routine is writing down three things that I value about myself. I do this every morning when I wake up. Be specific and get creative. “I value my strong legs that allow me to squat heavy weight” is a lot better than “I value my legs”. (Hat tip to Kate Northrup and her book Money, A Love Story for this idea.)
I also include mantras (I love them, can’t you tell?). Good ones include “I am enough” or “I am worthy”. Use one that resonates with you and feels good when you say it. Write it down. Read it often. I keep mine posted around my room or on the bathroom mirror.
Lastly, learn to treat yourself better and put yourself first. Make more time for self-care and doing things that you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, painting, taking a bath or just going for a walk. Buy yourself flowers. Take time out of your busy day to go buy yourself a latte on your lunch break. You’ll feel better about yourself when you make more ‘me’ time. And learn to say no. It isn’t selfish; it’s smart. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You have to learn to say no to people and things that bring you down. And the more you start to value yourself and see your own self-worth, the easier it will be to say no, and the easier it will be to stop accepting mediocre.
Take it from T.I., peeps