Something I see a lot of confusion around is the purpose of standards. We decide that we have certain standards, and when people behave in ways that don’t reflect these, we get mad at them. We try to persuade, guilt, or shame them into meeting our standards.

Being aware that someone’s actions and attitude fall short of our standards can be frustrating and galling, especially when what they’re doing is potentially harmful to us or others. However, the purpose of having standards is to guide our actions, thinking, and choices, not to rule others.

Our standards guide our boundaries.

It’s a good thing to have standards, a sense of our expectations for our quality of life and behaviour. We need to set a bar for ourselves (and others) through what we do and don’t accept. When our standards are too high or low, they’re unrealistic. They set us up to fail through the likes of perfectionism and accepting crumbs in unhealthy and unfulfilling relationships.

When we know and live our values, we have healthy boundaries. On recognising that something or someone doesn’t match our values, we can then check in with ourselves. Where are we out of alignment with our values and selling ourselves short? Where might we be inadvertently sabotaging ourselves with the perfectionism of being too hard on ourselves?

If we know that to feel like we’re living happily and authentically and our needs are satisfied, we need to be, do and have certain relationships, goals, things, attitudes and behaviours, this knowledge defines our boundaries. Setting the standard below this by, for instance, being with someone who doesn’t share our desire for a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust, and respect puts the ball back in our court to make decisions and choices that reflect our standards.

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites