When I think about setting standards, I think about the patterns I’ve seen in the clients and students I’ve had, as well as what I’ve seen in myself.
There are three patterns for setting standards that I tend to see: firstly, I see people setting standards that other people uphold instead of setting their own. They see certain standards that other people are holding and think they should follow their example, which results in a lot of confusion. They don’t even know how to look for the type of person who matches what they say they want, because they’re setting standards taken from someone else.
I’ve also seen people who actually have no idea what their standards are at all, which happens a lot with an anxious attachment style. They don’t have red or green flags; they just want a person. Any person at all.
Thirdly, I often see people setting standards that are conditional. Conditional standards are what happens when you’re setting standards in your mind, but the moment somebody comes in and shows you some attention—someone who doesn’t meet those standards—you throw those standards out.
You have no ability to stick to what you’ve set, because when you don’t come in contact with a match for what you’re asking for, you decide that it must not exist. So instead, you stop setting standards, throw everything out, and go with whatever’s coming your way.
This method of setting standards is giving scavenger energy. I went on a safari in Kenya back in January, and we saw some hyenas out looking for a meal…but they weren’t hunting. They weren’t out there looking for anything with intention; instead, they got the scraps of whatever the lions ate.
This is exactly what happens with conditional standards. You turn into a relationship scavenger; scavenger animals aren’t worried about what they want to eat. It’s about what’s out there that they can come and collect.
In each of these scenarios for setting standards, whether you’re looking to someone else to adopt whatever standards they have going on, you don’t actually know what you want, or you’ve set conditional standards, it’s actually in reaction to a feeling of scarcity.
Holding your standards can be compared to when a company decides they want to hire somebody for a new position.
Whoever is writing up that job description is tuning in to what the company needs and what they desire in a new hire. They get clear on what they’re looking for. They write up a whole job description. They think hard about what is going to make the most sense for their company—not the company next door, but their company.
There’s a huge amount of intentionality in this process, and I think we need to start applying that kind of intentionality to setting standards for our dating lives.
There’s often a lack of intentionality when it comes to us actually being clear about what we want. We think we know what we want, but we’re not actually connected to what we desire in our hearts. We don’t know what’s actually important to us. We just know what sounds good on paper.
So back to the company. Once they have their job description, they post it on whatever platforms they use—Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, wherever—and they go about their business. They’re not sitting there fretting over whether anyone is even going to apply. They don’t get bogged down in scarcity. They’re not worried about whether the requirements they’ve set are “too much” or “unrealistic,” because it’s what the company requires, period. They actually trust that them getting clear on what they desire will result in somebody that matches that coming their way.
When they start getting those applications in, if somebody doesn’t match what they’re looking for, they’re gone. There’s no emotional tie, there’s no drama about it. They just don’t match the description.
If someone you’re talking to isn’t matching what you’re looking for, what, what’s the need for the drama? What’s the need for you to get upset that they aren’t meeting the standard you’ve set? Just keep it moving. Try again.
You only get caught up in the drama of someone not meeting your standard when you’re deep in scarcity energy. And that’s just not the vibe we’re looking for here.
I don’t believe in the idea of dropping your standards, by the way. If you ask me, you never actually dropped your standards—you just didn’t have them in the first place.
I’m so serious. You didn’t drop your standards—you never had a hold on them.
Instead, you had an idea of what your standards should be. You had an idea of what would make sense in a relationship, but your energy was not connected to it.
I’ll use the company example again. It’s kind of like if a company said they were looking for a full-time employee, but only part-time employees apply, and then the company says, “You know what? Maybe we could make a part-time employee work.” It’s as if the full-time employee was never important to them in the first place, or they didn’t actually know what they wanted.
Here’s what I want to leave you with when it comes to setting standards: have you actually become the type of woman who can honestly say that you are a match for what you’re asking for?
If you’re not, it’s going to feel like imposter syndrome when you finally do find the person that you’re looking for, and you’re going to try and get rid of them. You’re not going to know how to exist in the vicinity of that type of energy.
For instance, someone who wants a partner who’s an honest communicator had better be prepared to receive honesty, even when it’s stuff that you don’t want to hear.
Let me give you an example: if you say you want honesty and honest communication, and you get to know somebody on a date and they honestly tell you they’re not interested or they honestly tell you that they are looking to go with the flow, are you able to accept that? Or are you fighting it? Because if you’re fighting it, you’re not a match for somebody who’s honest.
Here’s why this conversation around becoming a match for what you’re asking for is so important: you can speak a certain standard all you want, but that doesn’t mean your energy matches it.
I don’t believe standards are something that you say. I believe standards are an energy you carry.
You can say, “I want someone who’s honest,” but if you come across someone who’s honest and they feel your resistance to their honesty, they’re going to go, “Okay, this person is not able to hold honesty. This is not the person for me.”
When holding your standards, you have to remember that whatever standard you’re setting, there’s someone on the receiving end of that who is also trying to judge if you’re a match for their energy. Otherwise, even if you can call in someone who matches your standards, you won’t be able to hold that energy.
Be sure to connect with me more on Instagram @theselflovefix. I’d love to hear what you thought of this episode and what your major takeaways were.
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