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  • Writer's picturedennisharris04

Creating Stagnant Water is your Choice

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Have you ever walked past that part of a river or lake where you can tell that the water has started to flow very slowly or not at all? Or the pond that’s filled with murky water that hasn’t had much life in awhile. What if every time we made a decision to settle it’s like a part of our life becomes like that water?

I’m not just talking about the huge life altering decisions where you make the choice to settle and not really chase something. What about those decisions that seem small, but over time they have become a bigger sum of decisions that make up a chunk of your life. That stagnant water. Then you start throwing in some of the big decisions that were important, settling instead of embracing it with some fight, and it even gets a little depressing when you start thinking about it. But, all is not lost because each of us is guilty of it and you are not alone.

One of the times I settled on a big level was dating a girl when I was going through a very dark period of my life. I had hit bottom in my opinion and had stopped really fighting. I was with someone where it had become a co-dependent situation and adding her insecurity, negativity and my inability to see it, was draining me. My dependency where she was concerned was that she never pointed out or cared about the downward spiral I was in, even when I was down pretty far. I liked that we for the most part shared the bills and she never called me on anything. I didn’t feel like fighting. It was the perfect situation of co-existent comfortable misery. All those small decisions to settle that I had made over time had put me there.

Even in a situation where I convinced myself it was comfortable, there was something inside that quietly picked at me. Deep down I knew it wasn’t right, inside it was like the embers of a campfire you think are out, then you poke it and move it around a little bit. Suddenly a small flame kicks up and you can see that you have the ability to make a change for the better.

When I started realizing my situation on a truly conscious level, I started making changes with the energy I had. I started doing things that slowly set my mindset on the path to getting clearer and stronger. My lack of energy combined with the desire to change my situation became the key back to living again. Small steps using what you have to get back on the path of seeking harmony. That is the point of the whole thing, it took settling on several small things over time to put me in the situation I was in, why would I think it would be a giant leap to get me out. We all make that mistake of thinking it will take something or someone to save us on a huge level to get us out of a mess. Think about this, if you dug a huge hole over time that you were now standing at the bottom of, would you try to leap from a standing position to get out? It is going to take time and small, positive thoughts driven by effort to get yourself out. So what did I do? I will share that with you.

I started working closer to home and got back to training, this time in a different style of self-defence gym. I always had a passion for Martial-Arts, but I really wanted to try a more life-applicable style of Self Defence. I had found it in this gym, because the people who I met there and trained with made it even more of a personal draw. For me it was important to seek and gain a new experience to make myself better. Then it was only a matter of time that I did things like dressing a little more upbeat, eating a bit better each day. The more I did these things it seemed the further I grew away from the situation. The positive effort was separating me from the murky water I was wading in and had not realized sooner. It was time to start swimming myself out and look for a more inviting place to submerge.

Settling comes in all forms, but we tend to notice it less when it comes with decisions made over time that allows us to get into a perception of comfort and ease. We go with the situation because the idea of doing something different or changing things even in little pieces, seems like work. Most people seem to struggle to find energy for everyday routine, let alone finding extra for even the slightest changes sometimes. The thought of more work is hard to even fathom, so we can all be guilty of not even looking for a starting point.

Think about something as simple as you saving all your hard earned money for your first new vehicle and they don’t have it in the colour you dreamed of. I say simple because nobody needs a new car, but it’s a nice thing to save up for. You finally get to the point where you can buy it and it’s not exactly the way it should be to realize your vision. Why not show a little patience? After all, you waited and saved towards your goal. Why not try another dealership? How about a whole week of healthy eating and you get to your cheat day to reward your hard work. You want a nice juicy burger or a slice of pizza, but maybe you settle on a sandwich or another salad and feel unfulfilled. The reward should make the work feel validated because you are setting those standards to encourage yourself to carry on. Why settle?

Think about something bigger, like you want to move to another town or city and everyone you know warns you against it. You decide to stay in the same area doing the exact same things like struggling financially or enduring long commute times on the way to a job that isn’t fulfilling. You become stuck, never meeting new people or having new experiences because others pushed you to not follow your heart and perhaps you even ignored that gut feeling that urged you to make a change. What if you took that chance and it became a great financial decision and you had less of a commute? Could you move back if you didn’t like it? The answer is yes. So why give in? Listening to that voice could be one of your best decisions for growth and happiness.

If you settle on where you live, who you date, colour of your favourite car and anything else big or small you can think of, when is the water too stagnant?

We could spend a lifetime settling and never take notice of the things piling up around to the point where you're feeling bored or even a little depressed.

I have witnessed people in relationships compromise on everything to allow for their partners needs to be met as their goals become less and less important. That’s not a relationship, It's a prison sentence that hopefully the person living it starts looking for the compromise that makes up a true relationship. The type of freedom and happiness everyone should seek.

If I go out to a Pub or a restaurant and they don’t have some of my favourite drinks, appys or main dishes I will never go back. Life is too short to waste precious time. Sounds simple, but how often do we treat ourselves if we are working hard at life? Those small things matter, especially compiled over time.

On a bigger level let's talk about people and the type of person you may spend time with to keep other people happy. As I get older the time spent with people who don’t contribute to having a quality experience and add value is very little. I hope the people I spend time with feel the same way. Everybody likes a good social get together where lots of people are invited. I think that’s great once in a while, but I’m certainly not the person that needs it all the time. Why would I settle on how my time is spent? Quality will always be better than quantity in my mind. Bigger is not always better.

It’s an excellent feeling to meet new people who have the same values. That is also a great way to ensure friendships last longer if neither person is settling. People all need to feel welcome and want to know that they are needed, but we need a gauge on what that might cost. How do we navigate those situations that seem like a compromise again, without seeming difficult? Picking our battles may be one of the best lessons that some people never learn and others don’t care to. If you fight everything it may get to a point that no one wants to deal with you by the time you are old. If you settle and compromise your needs along the way it may create a piece of the dam that allows the pool of water to build up and become stagnant. That stagnant water is all the times you should not have settled. So in the moment when those times come up, and they will, ask yourself if you can live with the fact that you are settling. Is it a battle worth fighting? Will there be personal regret? Are you putting a piece in the Dam where water collects if you settle in the moment of question? Are you creating memories or a dark black pool of stagnant water?

It is your life to live, so live it to the fullest, but take the time to learn how to pick your battles.

Make sure whether you're a go along to get along person, or someone like me who needs to have quality control that you can live with the path you choose. That you have not settled and have lived your best life creating fantastic memories. Ask anyone if they would rather stand by a murky pond with a small fire burning, or stand by a beautiful lake with a big, cozy fire burning. Make the decisions to keep the big fire burning and the water clear, beautiful and everyone wants to be by it. See you next time.

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