Setting the Standards
In the last column we looked at boundaries, those imaginary lines you draw around yourself to define how you wish to be treated. Boundaries are about what others cannot do to you or around you. Your boundaries act as a filter. Like most things in life there’s a flip side to boundaries – in this instance it’s your standards.
Standards are about how you choose to behave and act towards and around others.
If you take a moment to think about how boundaries and standards relate to one another you’ll begin to see that they should be fairly similar. How you expect to be treated (boundaries) is how you should be prepared to treat others (standards). Anything different would be a double standard or hypocritical and I’m sure most of us can think of someone who falls into this category! Having double standards doesn’t tend to make you many friends.
Some examples of standards might be
– always paying bills on time.
– not gossiping about others, good or bad.
– arriving on time to meetings, work or get togethers with family and friends.
– choosing to be helpful.
– always telling the truth gently and accepting the consequences.
– putting people and relationships ahead of results.
– being positive or constructive in all you say and do.
– allowing others to be right (not always having to have the last word!)
– being responsible for what happens in your life (good or bad), understanding what you do and how you act influences your outcomes and other peoples.
Are you happy with the standards you hold yourself to or could they be higher?
Raising your standards doesn’t have to be hard, you’re not aiming for sainthood just a match between your boundaries and how you’re prepared to treat others.
So, have a look at your boundaries, what did you decide they would be?
Now, take a look and think honestly about how you behave and act towards others.
What are your standards? Make a list.
Do they match your boundaries? If they don’t what do you need to do to make sure that they do?
Are there any other standards you want to incorporate into your life?
Standards are a choice. You choose what they are so accept they might be different to other peoples.
Standards aren’t something to be lorded over others, you don’t have standards to prove you’re a more superior person than someone else. Like boundaries they are not meant to be used as a weapon.
Avoid setting standards because it will “get you something or somewhere”. That’s manipulative and about personal gain, not about being the best you can be.
Be consistent in maintaining your standards, it can get really confusing for everybody if you’re not.
Write down your standards now and think about how you might raise them. Don’t make a huge leap just extend them until you’re comfortable and the new actions and behaviours come naturally. You might have to stop and think about them a bit until they become apart of you.
Jan Aitken Life Coach