We all have standards. We have standards for the way we want to be treated and we have standards for ourselves in the way we treat people. We have standards for everything we do; a maximum and a minimum threshold of acceptable behaviours. But…
Are our standards consistent?
Do the standards we have fall equally across the board for everyone we come in contact with? I would like to say I make sure the standards I have for myself are the same as what I hold others to, but I also find I hold myself to a much higher standard than others.
Some of that stems from the abuse I’ve endured throughout my life. The emotional abuse and neglect that I have had as a part of my life has made a lower my threshold for how I allow others to treat me. On the flip side, it has made me that much more stringent about my standards of how I choose to treat people; respect is the foundation of how I live my life because respect is something I’ve not been consistently shown.
I try to show, through my behaviour, how I want to be treated, but I am realizing that isn’t always the best path. Being vocal and demanding instead of quiet and example-showing would help to break the cycle. It would bring my needs and deserved treatment to the front instead of allowing them to be pushed to the back.
There’s another aspect to standards as well. It’s the standards in which we hold all other people. The best example I can think of is one from my own life. I run a daycare from my home. I have as many as seven kids under the age of five running around on any given day (including my own two). One thing I realized when I started my daycare was, unless I held all the children in my care to the same standard, my life was going to be hell. And so was there’s. I couldn’t allow one child to do something but not the others. I also couldn’t discourage certain behaviours from one child and not from the next. From that point on, every child who walked into my home had the same standard in which to meet and comply as the next (whether it be within my daycare, my own children or a playdate). Expectations as far as respect, table manners, helping out, being kind, following house rules, etc. were all the same; were always the same.
As I interact with other parents both as a professional and as a mom, I’ve come to realize that not only does everyone NOT have the same set of standards as me, but their standards aren’t even consistent across all of their relationships.
The first part I understand and have experienced my entire life. Not everyone will have the same standards as me. And that’s fine, but often those are people who I end up choosing not to have in my life. We are just too far a part on the important things for us to have a healthy relationship.
The second part is hard to fathom; hard for me to grasp concretely. Why wouldn’t a person want to have a consistent set of standards; a set of standards which clearly indicated what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour?
The conclusion that I have come to is simple: the amount of work it takes to maintain a consistent set of standards is too overwhelming. It takes patience and objectivity, time and dedication. For some people and relationships, it is just to daunting of a task to remain neutral and steadfast in those standards.
So, while other are struggling to maintain their shifting standards in a world where very few people are held accountable, I’m going to stick to my standards for how I treat others. Most importantly, I’m going to work on becoming stronger in demanding and maintaining the standards in which others treat me.