Has someone ever told you that your standards are too high? Yeah, I’ve heard it a time or two or daily. Pre-30’s, I would have immediately sprang into action to change my standards to match what was said. Yes, I was a follower but only because it was the path of least resistance. Now post-30’s, enlightened me says get on my level or exit stage left. I may have high standards but they are high because I strive to live them in all my actions. I should not have to lower my standards to make others comfortable. And contrary to a common belief, high standards does not equate to high maintenance.
Some areas that I have set standards in are:
These standards are a work in progress for me. As you know it is often easy to get caught up in being comfortable and let your standards slide a bit. I’m sure you can think of examples in some or all of the above areas of your life.
Now I have committed to doing an inventory of my life periodically, which includes an inventory of people, things, and activities in it. Pertaining to people, this is actually an area that I would love other people’s perspective because that inventory typically results in my cutting people from my life. Now I know that sounds harsh, but truth be told, the act of cutting out negative people or those who rob me of my peace is not done to be mean but done to free both parties. At least in my internal narrative, it is freeing for the other person because they don’t have to deal with my response to them or my requiring something they are either unable to or unwilling to give.
As part of my people/relationship inventory, I ask whether that person brings me value, joy, and/or peace. If the answer is not to all three, then I ask whether I bring value to that person. I do not ask whether I bring them joy or peace because that would mean that I am valuing their joy and peace above mine. I do ask about value though because if I’m bringing them value, there must be a lesson for me in that relationship that may not have been apparent until reflecting on it. To be clear, if my assessment shows that all we have is the value that I am giving them, I may not completely cut them out of my life, but I will reassess the terms, depth, and frequency of our contact.
“You tell people how to treat you by what you accept. If disrespect is what you allow, then respect is what you’ll never get. Protect your standards."
I believe that my standards go hand in hand with my brand so I work hard to ensure that those two areas are compatible. Regarding conduct and behavior, as stated above it is easy to get comfortable. Here’s an example, a small one, but an example nonetheless. I pride myself on my command of the English language. When I send a text, I almost always use proper punctuation and grammar. I abhor ‘LOL’! However, in my everyday speech, I find slang creeping into my vernacular (yeah… now I’m just showing off). I will jokingly say something like ‘she be tripping’ or "I was fittin to." Speaking with family and friends that may be okay. Lately though, I have found the slang and shortcuts slipping out at the most inopportune times. Therefore, I decided that I would have to stop using slang and shortcuts as they were inconsistent with my standards and brand. It is important to note that I am not judging people who routinely use slang and linguistic shortcuts (yep… showing off again). I am simply stating it’s not part of my standards/brand.
The final word…As you reflect today, what are your standards? Have you been loyal to them? If not, how do you get back on track or how do they need to change to better reflect you?