I refuse to settle for less than I deserve when it comes to a relationship and I really pride myself on having such high standards for the guys I date. So, when I realized that my standards for myself were so very low, I knew I had to do something about it. After all, how can I expect anyone to love me right if I can’t love myself right?
I didn’t even know having self-standards was a thing.
Like most people, I just wanted to be happy, healthy, and successful. Those were my standards, right? Not quite. See, I had high expectations and I had high hopes and dreams. My standards, on the other hand, were really really low. I was hoping and dreaming of all the things I wanted and yet I never got the results. When I stopped to look at why this was happening, I came to the shocking conclusion that it was actually self-sabotage. While I had wanted all of these things, I’d never actually expected myself to really do anything about it. That just “wasn’t me.” I had set my own bar so excruciatingly low that I was ashamed.
My low standards were ruining my life.
The can of worms had opened and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I began to notice just how badly I was ruining my own life. Struggling through my work, my health was deteriorating and I was just straight up unhappy. And it was all my fault.
I decided to choose change.
Coming to terms with the fact that this was all on me was tough. It’s a heck of a lot easier to blame other people while in reality, it was my responsibility and mine alone. Only I was in charge of my self-standards. The great thing about that is that I also had the power to change them. This fueled the creation of my first standard: I expect myself to set high self-standards.
I was barely scraping through my work and it had to stop.
My first step to a better life began with reflection. I stopped and really looked at where I was letting myself down, then I listed my top four areas to focus on. These were the areas that needed and deserved higher standards, pronto! First on the list was work. For years I had been making excuses as to why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, but the truth was that I just wasn’t working hard enough, I didn’t expect that from myself. And so the second standard was born: I expect myself to put in the hours, to come prepared, and to work really hard for the results I wanted.
People walked all over me and I let them.
Next on the list was possibly one of the hardest standards to create. As somebody who hated (and still hates) conflict with a passion, I had a rapidly deteriorating backbone. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I had one anymore. People soon caught onto this and would walk all over me. I had had enough and so slowly, the third standard came about: I expect myself to speak my mind, stand up for myself, and not shy away from necessary conflict. Yikes.
I’d never truly loved and cared for my body.
With two down and two to go, the third item on my list was my health. Despite having gone through years of chronic illness, somehow I still struggled to actually care for my body. I had been struggling with this for so long, but every ‘solution’ was restricting, punishing, and even cruel towards my body in the process. Needless to say, it didn’t work out. It was time for the fourth standard: I expect myself to eat the foods my body needs, to move my body in ways I enjoy, and to most importantly, love my body for all it does.
I was constantly dragged down with negativity.
The final of the four items on my list was my happiness. Now, just by implementing the other standards, I was already a lot happier. I went to bed feeling accomplished and truly like I was becoming the best version of myself. However, bad days are a thing and so the final standard appeared: I expect myself to let go of the negative, focus on the positive, be grateful for all I have, and to allow myself to be happy.
I had to let go of my mistakes.
I’m very aware of how easy I just made all that sound, but don’t be fooled. I slipped up. I still slip up. In fact, I’m constantly making mistakes, and if you choose to set yourself higher standards (which I highly recommend, by the way) then you will likely slip up too, and that’s totally fine. Standards essentially come down to behavior patterns and they can take some time to change. Just stick with it, keep going and in time it will get easier.
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