June 19, 2019

I pride myself for rolling with the punches.

I try really hard to be OK with chocolate ice cream when all I really wanted was vanilla. If a theater isn’t showing the movie I want to see, I’ll settle for a different one. No dress in that color I wanted? No problem—I’ll take it in peach.

But over time, I’ve learned while there is a freedom in running with what’s available, there are certain things you shouldn’t settle for—most of them which, admittedly, are a bigger deal than ice cream flavor.

According to behavioral psychologists, we often feel pressure to settle from the world around us—whether it’s on a partner, a job, or another big life decision—but doing so can prevent us from pushing forward and asking for what we truly want and need.

And sometimes, we settle without intentionally meaning to because it’s easy to feel like we don’t deserve to meet our expectations. Anyone else been there?

Part of owning your needs is knowing which ones are non-negotiable.

It’s OK to have standards—and, with the help of the Shine community, below is a list of a few (of the many!) things that it’s OK to not settle on, because part of owning your needs is knowing which ones are non-negotiable.

1. Your Boundaries

Your boundaries aren’t brick walls. They take so many different forms, but regardless of which you choose, they’re your boundaries.

Consider your “no” a sign that you’re trusting yourself, and consider the people who respect your boundaries as relationships you can trust, too.

2. Your Worth

Even with the wage gap as large as it is, your worth shouldn’t be up for debate. You deserve to get paid for everything you bring to the table in a job.

If you feel unsure about how much to ask for and how to go about demanding your worth be compensated, get started by doing some research. Find examples of salaries for people in your profession (Glassdoor has a great tool for this!). Then, negotiate for fair pay and trust you’re worth it.


3. How You Live Your Life

We’re only granted so much time in this life, so uncovering our passions, loving who we love, and living to the fullest potential is the least we can do to honor ourselves. Our capacity to live authentic lives can impact our mental health—and prioritizing that genuinity can go a long way in regards to your self-esteem and overall well being.

"[It's] my right to create the life of my dreams," Instagram user @missjess217 shared with Shine. Taking that to heart may be easier said than done, but remember self-acceptance is a journey that looks different for us all.

4. What You Want

It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re OK with something close to what you want, but it might not be what you actually want.

You deserve what you desire.

Consider this your reminder that you deserve what you desire—not something that’s kind of/sort of/only 25% there.

5. Your Health

As the saying goes: Nothing works if you don’t.

When we take time to prioritize our physical and mental health, our overall emotional health increases.

And yup, health includes your sleep, as @al.parker reminded us on Instagram.

When we have enough sleep and are paying attention to our overall health, not only are we able to be more productive, but our self-esteem can improve. In turn, it may be easier to go after the things that you want.

6. Relationships

As @copeland.magick shared with Shine on Instagram, "love is a choice, an action, and a commitment" that we should never negotiate. The way we’re treated in our relationships (platonic, professional, or romantic) can take a toll on us. While it may be easier to settle, it’s necessary to hold high standards for how we are treated. "If it's not a hell yes, then it's a no!," @alydaisy shared with Shine.

Finding connections that are respectful of your time, push you without judgement, and line up with your priorities can only help you grow.

Read next: How to Know—and Own—Your Needs

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