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"We set our standards so high that

even our flaws were considered excellent."

Debbie Fields (Mrs.Fields Cookies)

This is a time of reevaluation. We are watching our country and our world rapidly change and many are feeling confused, conflicted, and concerned about what everything will look like when the demonstrations subside and decisions are made. Many are fearful of the unknown consequences of change and many more will be wondering if the changes are enough. One thing for certain is change is coming.

So, what can we do now while we are waiting for the pathway to change to be cleared? We can elevate the standards by which we live by.

Have you ever considered that you have personal standards and expectations? These standards can be conscious standards that you put into practice every day, or they can be sub-conscious standards that are reflected in your actions and behaviors. You can have personal standards and standards for your family. You can set standards at work and try to meet the standards set by your employer. You can have standards financially as you strive toward independence, or you can live according to your landlord's standards. There are standards set by our government in the form of laws and there are belief standards set by religious leaders. When there are unjust standards we have processes in place to change those standards.

Have you considered what your personal standards are? Sometimes people look at standards as being an expectation, but the expectation comes after you have a set standard. What you believe to be true is where a standard begins. In the defining of that truth you set your expectations. If your employer has a standard that you are not to be late for work, the expectation is that you will show up on time. The standard is the measuring tool, the expectation is met by your success (or failure) in meeting that expectation. Sometimes, our standards can be unfair, unjust, and even to the point of being cruel. Demonstrators are bringing attention to the unjust, unfair, and cruel injustices of racism. Child and Spousal Abuse also are the consequence of another's unfair standard and cruel expectations.

Sometimes we want to set standards that are based on the negatives and not on the positives. This might sound like, "Don't do this" or "You shouldn't do that." Our legal system is set up to direct individuals to not do something that is in violation of the standard of law. Violations or failures to follow the laws results in negative consequences (fines, jail time, community service). Consider this, how often do you get pulled over by the police for doing something right?

Another measuring tool is one that lays out what individuals are expected to do (like show up to work on time). These standards usually have both negative consequences (write ups, terminations), but often have positive consequences (promotions, excellent evaluations).

Either way, positive or negative standards have consequences. So, as you consider your standards for your life, consider how you would like to measure the success for meeting those standards and if your expectations for success and failure will result in positive or negative consequences. Also ask those around you if they believe your expectations are unrealistic (your spouse and teenagers might feel they are) and adjust accordingly. Sometimes it's not that the standard is set too high, it's the degree of success (expectation) that are set too high and does not allow for mistakes. When the only measurement for success is 100% compliance, everyone will fail. There has to be room for error, as no one is perfect.

"To err is human, to forgive divine."

Alexander Pope

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