Why do you settle for being an option in someone’s life when you deserve being someone’s first choice? Why do you allow someone to “fit you in” to their schedule whenever is convenient for them, rather than making you a priority? Why do you settle for crumbs?

Do you not believe that you deserve the entire cookie? Everything from the crispy edges to the softer center. The various ingredients all combined to create this one savory treat.

I understand you crave the attention, the affection, the physical touch—the entire delicious treat—but yet you answer the late night text and allow him/her to stop by. You settle for crumbs because somehow, you feel that it’s better than not having any of the treat. But yet the crumbs leave you with an empty feeling inside because it doesn’t truly satisfy your innermost needs.

You hold on to hope that something more will evolve from the job that has felt like a dead end for so long. You hang on to his/her last words as a lifeline because you’re afraid of being alone. Your heart races when your phone alerts you to a new message, even though it’s been days since the last one. You follow the trail of scattered crumbs hoping that they will lead you to the bigger reward. But that’s what the mouse did before the trap at the end of the crumb trail snapped down on him.

Following crumbs will lead you to a wounded heart, a numb soul. It will cause you to lose hope. A slippery slope of negative chatter will clutter your mind. And then, because you start believing the self-mutilating beliefs you’re feeding your soul, you’ll start settling for whatever scraps get thrown your way, desperate for anything. Something.

You’ve got to work on your belief in yourself. You’ve got to work on loving who you are. You’ve got to work on enjoying spending alone time with you. And then, and only then, will you start to lose your taste for crumbs because you want the whole damn treat. You want to savor every morsel, the entire flavor profile, every bite of what it has to offer. You will come to know and believe that you deserve the whole damn thing!

It isn’t easy. Life will test you. It’s tested me so many times, and continues to do so. And whenever I catch myself following a crumb trail, I take some time to reflect on what it was I thought I was going after and what it is that I truly want. I realize that the crumbs may have been bits of what I’ve been longing for, but that I deserve the whole thing—that I deserve more. And so I step off the trail and love myself some more, journal out my thoughts, spend some time in silence and connecting with nature, and reconnect with my true self. I remind myself that I don’t want to settle for good enough—for crumbs. I want my own version of greatness.

Know what greatness in your life means for you. Know what’s important for your heart and soul. And then you’ll start moving away from the crumbs, becoming less tempted by them, pushing them aside, because you know that somewhere, the entire treat is waiting for you.

The crumbs are just tests. They are reminders to stay true to you. They are guides to the areas of your life that need more of your attention and love. They are the blind spots you may have ignored. Don’t settle for them. Know that you deserve more. Because you do.