Upping The Stakes


Have you ever found yourself holding on, desperately clinging, or not wanting to let go of something that you know isn’t really what you want?

I’m going to guess at yes. We do it all the time. We hold onto that job that doesn’t really satisfy, that habit that can never quite fuel us, that ex boyfriend who will never treat us how we deserve. We hold on hold on hold on instead of stepping up and claiming what we truly desire.

Just yesterday I had a crushingly honest conversation with a dear friend and mentor of mine. Crying, vulnerable, and wanting nothing more than to run away from the confronting realisations that were spread across my heart; I decided to write. I spent hours, over pages and pages, leaving nothing behind. I poured myself out until there was nothing left. I collapsed into bed last night, with tired eyes and a heavy heart, knowing that I was empty, and knowing that I had to begin again.

Our conversation yesterday opened me up. I woke up this morning knowing that despite how scared I was, and despite the courage that it was going to take, it was finally time to let go of all of the things that were holding me back from finding my joy. And I knew that it was not only going to be a process of letting go, but raising my standards so that I could start living the amazing story that I was made for.

It hit me yesterday that when I, or any of us, hold onto the things that are not truly for us we stop ourselves from experiencing the things that are. When we clog our minds and hearts with things that don’t fuel us or give us life we leave no room for the things that will. Unless we are willing to acknowledge that we deserve more, and are ready to ask for more, we will never get it.

Lessons always come when we least expect them. Yesterday, I realised how much I had been settling. What I thought would be a day of food, laughter, and light conversation, turned into the heart breaking realisation that somewhere along the way I had lost my self respect, my worth, and my ability to know that I deserved more. I realised that I had been settling for a life mediocre to the one I knew I could have, and the one that I wanted.

And it left me with the question, why do we settle? Even when we know we’re doing it?

Why do we allow ourselves to accept things that don’t make us feel alive, inspired, or fulfilled?

Why do we accept things that leave us feeling empty?

Because it’s what we believe we deserve. And further than that, we’re so scared that something better wont come along that we cling to what we’ve got.

Yesterday forced me to get really honest with myself. I’ve come to accept the life that I think I deserve, rather than live the life that I really want. I’ve sacrificed my happiness, dignity, and worth for people and things that will never fuel me or give my life. Too many people settle for a life, or a relationship, or a job that leaves them unsatisfied; I don’t want that. I don’t want to be scared to go after what is written on my heart. I don’t want to feel numb to the joys of this wonderful world. I can’t bear the thought that my life will go to waste. I’m scared, but I want to step up with courage and claim the life that I would love to live.

Yesterday, I got kicked where it hurts. But I needed it. I needed to realise that I deserve nothing less than the best. I deserve to create a life beyond my wildest dreams.

It’s probably not going to happen overnight. I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and feel the aching joy of knowing that I’m living my best life, but I’ll be on my way.

From now on I’m saying a big fat no to settling for anything less than amazing. I am upping the stakes. Raising my standards. Asking for more.

Shannon is a 21 year old wannabe writer, interested in fashion, travel, books, theatre, food, and good company. She recently graduated from a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English Literature and Writing. In 2013, she was engaged with Marist Youth Ministry as a regional intern. This role was diverse and life-giving one for Shannon, and gave her the passion, dedication, and heart for continuing in ministry and journeying with young people as they encounter Jesus Christ in their lives.