My Approach to Standards

I think it’s quite normal for people to have their own set of standards. Everyone’s different. I think as long as it’s not harming someone else, then it’s fine. For example, some people have certain standards for romantic relationships. These could be related to appearance, religious beliefs, personality traits, education levels, etc.

It’s interesting because some people think that they need to control other people’s standards. I think it’s okay to challenge people’s ideas, but I don’t think it’s up to me to change someone else’s perspective, for the most part. I think if someone is unwilling to change their view and I don’t agree with it, then it’s simply best for me to reconsider whether I should be engaging with the person at all.

The other day, I was on social media, and saw someone post something about 10,000 steps. And in the comments, someone replied something about restaurant staff getting that many steps easily and how 10,000 steps is setting the bar low. I thought this was a strange/funny comment because 1) the original post was not about a restaurant worker, and 2) it sounded like they were comparing their own number of steps to other people in general and/or the original poster. I get it if it’s your own standard, but it’s pretty silly to expect everyone else to follow that same standard. I could also see how it could be discouraging for folks who struggle with physical activity due to illness, disability, life/work circumstances, etc., thinking that what they are doing is “not good enough”.

So to highlight how ridiculous this comment sounded, I joked about how being a restaurant server seems like setting the bar low. And of course, some people got offended by this. But when I mentioned the 10,000 steps, they found no problem with it, as it did not personally offend them. There was even one girl who proved my point by saying that she personally believed 10,000 steps was a low bar for her as a restaurant worker. Cool, well same here, working as a restaurant server is a low bar for me personally. I think they missed my point entirely, which is that it’s fine to have your own standards, but it’s pretty silly to apply it to everyone else, or even just one specific individual.

I find standards as a good way to determine my interactions with people, not impose my standards onto them. I’m not a fan of certain kinds of jobs, and I prefer building streams of passive income to active income (or at the very least, self-employment vs. working for an employer). But at the same time, it doesn’t bother me if someone decides to work a minimum-wage job. Now, obviously I’m not going to take career advice from someone who is doing work that I’m not even remotely interested in. But also, it doesn’t really make sense for me to jump in and say that their line of work doesn’t fit my standards. Why should they care about appeasing me? It’s their life. Plus, I have no idea what their circumstances are.

Just to make it clear, I’m not saying that having standards is the issue. It’s not. The issue happens when we interact with others and we think that suddenly, we have to “fix” these people. Unless someone is specifically asking for your input or your advice, it doesn’t matter what you think. And even if you share your view, that person doesn’t have to follow what you say.

If you don’t agree with someone’s standards, you can always limit your interactions with the person. There’s no point in dating someone just because you find certain qualities attractive, but think that you could essentially mold their “undesirable” traits to fit in with your ideal.

Also, I think it’s quite silly to criticize other people’s standards when it doesn’t even affect you. For example, what’s the point of criticizing someone for going out for drinks on the weekends and partying with friends? How does this affect you? You might have a standard of staying home on the weekends and working on your side hustle. Cool. Not everyone has to be like you, though. They’re not less significant than you just because you decided to be “productive” one weekend. And literally, it doesn’t affect you at all (unless it’s your roommate throwing the party in your shared living space, in which case it’s time for you to find a new roommate).

My standards are my own. They also change throughout my life, as I experience new things. I used to be all about the hustle mentality. Now, I’m more focused on self-care and balancing the mental/physical. I’m not about that grind, sacrificial behavior, and the validation of others for my achievements/success.

There are plenty of people who are all about hustle mentality. If it works for them, cool. Personally, I’ve experienced enough of the consequences to understand that my body/mind cannot handle such a restrictive lifestyle, and that there are far greater things of importance to me. Some people are used to operating in such a way and are somehow completely fine, and that’s okay too.

I think when it comes to relationships, you can make it clear what you’re looking for, but see them for who they are. If they’re happy with their 9-5, it makes no sense for you to force them to become a freelancer, just because that’s what you’d do. If you want to suggest it, that’s fine. But, it’s pretty silly for you to act so entitled.

How would you feel if you enjoyed running your own business, but then suddenly you were forced to do house cleaning while taking care of kids at home? Or if you enjoy having a private life, but then suddenly all your secrets were revealed to the entire world without your permission, including your clients or employers?

I am typically respectful when it comes to other people’s standards, as long as they’re being respectful of mine. So if someone acts superior to me because of how I live my life vs. how they live their life, I will either ignore it or playfully take jabs at their lifestyle. I really only do it to show them how it feels to be on the other side.

I do admit, I have a bit of cognitive dissonance when it comes to comparing myself to others. Like on the one hand, I don’t think that I’m necessarily superior to anyone. But on the other hand, compared to specific people that I know, I do think that I’m better in some ways. Like in a general sense, I feel as if we’re all pretty much the same. But on an individual basis and based on my own standards, I do think I’m better than others. But then, I also have to remind myself that obviously, we all have different circumstances, so it’s not really fair. I also have to ask myself if I’m placing unrealistic expectations on another person.

I have a standard in friendships, which is mutual respect. I don’t care if my friends disagree with me from time to time or have conflicts with me. But of course, I won’t consider someone a friend is they resort to name-calling, throwing punches, or speaking in an aggressive manner, especially on a consistent basis. Now, it could be a one-off event, in which case I will try to talk to them about it and let them know, “Hey, I don’t tolerate this kind of behavior. If you do X, Y, or Z again, we can no longer be friends.” It’s not really about me changing the other person’s behavior, but about deciding the types of people I’d want to surround myself with, consciously. They’re free to decide to continue name-calling and such, but then of course I don’t have to continue tolerating such behavior. I’m free to set such boundaries.

This is a bit of a tangent, but I don’t believe that Law of Attraction is a useful frame for explaining why certain types of people exist in your life. A lot of times, people are not utilizing their own set of standards in the most efficient way. I once read somewhere that “toxic” people exist everywhere, and they are not picky. It’s just unfortunate because the people who they latch onto do not know how to disengage from such people. So in reality, you may not be “attracting” such people into your life, but you not be purposely filtering them out of your life either. (I could go more into this in another blog post.)

To conclude, there is nothing wrong with having your own set of standards. In a lot of cases, there is an issue with imposing your standards onto others. Being selective is fine. Being discriminatory is not. Realize that other people don’t have to be just like you.

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