Integrity is the map to achieving our maximum potential; it is the wholeness of our self. As we pursue integrity, we obtain virtues that better us. We all desire to capture the best possible future that exists and make it our present reality; setting standards accomplishes this. Standards are the footprints on the path we hope we’re brave enough to take. They define our personhood and determine our character as we discern the character of others. How we believe we should be treated is directly related to the standards we create.

In our relationships, sharing similar standards is significant in keeping us from forfeiting our own. Whether we are trying to be more generous, self-disciplined, courageous, loyal, or obtain any other virtuous quality, being around others who are striving for the same will continue to encourage us in doing so. While we are on the path to becoming our best self, we need the support and shared pursuit of our friends and significant others. There is power in unity.

Standards are necessary and good for helping us navigate the road to becoming. However, when they turn into expectations for everyone else to live up to they become unattainable. An expectation can be dangerous as it often leads to assumption. No one can know what we want, need or think. It is imperative we communicate these things. When we fail to do so, we piggyback assumption, making our journey slower and heavier.

 Standards are the footprints on the path we hope we’re brave enough to take.

Though, not every expectation we might have is negative. All humans and creatures deserve respect and kindness. If we surrender them, expectations can offer a hope and provide an opportunity to stretch our character. However, when we expect others to give what they don’t have or to act in a way that has never been modeled for them, we set them up for failure and set ourselves up for disappointment. In this way our grace is hijacked and we are unable to offer another the benefit of the doubt.

With our integrity in tow, we must carry our virtue not just for the sake of becoming our best, but also for the welfare of others. As we choose our close few to do life with and especially as we consider a potential mate, we should look for people who carry the same compass, who are traveling the same road and pursuing the same heights as us. With them by our side, the likelihood of achieving our best life is far greater as we marry our present hope to our future potential.

What do you think? When are standards helpful and when might they be harmful?

Image via Auste Skrupskyte


  1. Great thoughts Claudia! I agree with you in that with regards to relationships, I understand the idea of experiences to help formulate our standards. In regards to sharing physical intimacy with someone, if the standards are not met and the values do not align, it gets incredibly messy. Sex can make it easy to overlook the deal-breakers you find in someone else, it can confuse us causing us to settle and settling is the very last thing any of us should be doing. It’s like you may not like someone at first but then you sleep with them and suddenly you’re like “well they’re not so bad” because you shared such an intimate experience but truly that experience can be shared with anyone and can anyone can learn to experience it greatly. Good sex with someone isn’t a unique experience- the unique experience comes from a mutual propelling of one another for betterment; loving better than the day you did before and being able to laugh after 50 years of togetherness or intellectually stimulating conversation (definitely a rarity haha). Also, in becoming more self-aware and learning what we want and don’t want and what our standards look like, as we surround ourselves with friends like that we don’t necessarily need the experience of dating because we have friends treating us the way we desire to be treated so when someone comes along looking to date us, through questioning and communicating we can identify whether our standards/values align and if dating this person is beneficial or a waste of one another’s time.

    be with someone you shouldn’t actually be with if the sex is great because with this other person, the physical intima

  2. In my opinion standards are the basis of it all. The way we grew up, the way we were influenced by teachers, family, friends, the ethic and moral values are what makes us unique amongst others. Of course that society also influences our behaviour and the way we are “supposed” to act, however, humans have a small little thing that even when we believe that “nothing happens without a reason” we can always use: free will. Society does not appreciate tattoes? Well, but I would like to get one – and their freedom ends when mine starts as long I’m not negatively affecting anyone else.

    It is important to learn who we are and what we want of our lifes and who we want to enter (and stay) within. However, that only comes with experience since we are all different. Yes, it is very nice when we meet a potential partner and we have that instant click and we start dating without really knowing each other – and then, BANG, the expectation and illusion come along and all fades away – because our standards to not correspond to the other persons’ and we are expecting something they are not willing or available to give – and problems start. I also believe that putting the other at the edge of the cliff as if he/she is the only responsible for what went wrong is also quite shallow. Most of the time is each others standards and expectations that create the illusion of someone or something that doesn’t correspond to the reality, and of course, with that, comes the realization that the other person isn’t afterall the right one for us – even if everything else (sex for instance) works perfectly. If not in the same life stage nor the same goals it hardly works (and I’m only mentioning the personal part of us – and trust me I’m in the letting go process right now, exactly managing the acceptance that I was not what he expected and neither was him for me).

    At work is quite the same thing – you must love your job (and you don’t have to work one single day in your life) and feel excited about the projects you’re involved, but the standards that you search in your collegues, boss, company/ college, must correspond to your expectations – we want to be better than “ourselves” without stepping anyone. If not you just feel (there we go) disappointed and worse, you start thinking that maybe you are the one who is wrong, who’s not able to make certain tasks and therefore, a walking/talking failure.

    It is important to learn what kind of predisposition we have in front of certain events – personal, social and professional, and then go with the flow without losing ourselves in the middle of them. If we know for sure what are our life standards it’s quite easy to understand that when it starts to hurt it’s because it’s not made for us.

    PS – I’m sorry for any misspelling mistakes (I speak way better than I write!)

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