Life has been teaching me tough lessons lately.
I kept dating the wrong people and participating in mediocre relationships. I let people take up my time and energy that I knew would never match what I was willing to give.
I repeated this pattern for the better part of a year.
It wasn’t until recently that I started to raise my standards and I began to be treated way better by everyone in my life.
Decide What Isn’t Enough
When I was younger I dated so many men that were manipulative and cruel I felt like anyone who was nice to me was worth my time.
The thing is that being nice is a pretty low bar to set. In fact, I don’t even think being nice is that hard. Dating a nice person should kind of go without staying. Being nice is really one of the lowest bars of being an adult.
I decided that I didn’t need to feel so thankful that someone was being nice to me and I started to expect that any men who are around me treat people with kindness and respect. Anyone who can’t do that doesn’t get to be around me.
Setting these boundaries really shifted the dynamics in my relationships and I started to be treated better almost immediately. When I stopped acting like being nice was a special treat and was actually just what was required to hang out with me the people who were around me rose to meet my new standard.
THIS DOESN’T MEAN PEOPLE TREATING YOU SHITTY IS YOUR FAULT.
No one deserves any kind of abuse or to be treated poorly. I’m just saying I noticed a difference in the way I was treated when I raised my standards for how I want to be treated but that doesn’t mean you should keep someone around that you have to hold responsible or try to manipulate into treating you well. If they can’t rise to your standards they need to move aside. They’re just in the way of the amazing life that you are creating for yourself.
Set New Minimums
Being nice was my old minimum for dating me or spending time with me. What areas of your life do you need to set new minimums? Are you tolerating poor treatment or pay at your job? Are you putting up with half-ass behavior from your significant other? Do the men you date cancel or fail to keep plans?
The areas in our life that feel heavy or don’t excite us are usually the areas where we need to raise our minimums. If you decide you only accept jobs where you are treated with respect and paid a fair wage your life will be dramatically different then if you are willing to take any job that comes your way. I understand that changing relationships and leaving jobs is tough. Trust me, it’s taken me years to get my life to the point it is now. It’s been an ongoing process of figuring out what I want and what I am willing to tolerate to build a life that feels good to me and that I’m really happy with.
Raising my minimums really changed my life though.
I decided I was unavailable for men who weren’t exceptional in most areas of their lives.
I decided I was unavailable for jobs that didn’t suit my skill sets or pay me what I was worth.
I decided I was unavailable for friends that cancelled plans or didn’t put any effort into our friendships.
Slowly life started to get better and better as I was able to slowly shift my beliefs and actions to line up with my new minimums.
Walk It Out
There’s going to be times when it’s tempting to go back to your old ways. Your past habits are familiar and change can be really stressful. It can be a lot more comfortable to slave away at the same old job year after year instead of taking a risk to try something new.
If you really want to change your life and raise your standards you have to walk it out.
That means you have to hold true to your new standards even when they’re tested. It’s not easy but the more tests you can pass the easier it will be to maintain your new minimum standards in the future. Get really clear about exactly what you’re new standards are and what you will no longer tolerate. It’s easier to not give in to tests that come your way when you’re really freaking clear about what is allowed in your life and what is not.
I used to be scared to raise my standards because I was scared nothing better would ever come along. If I leave my job I’ll never find another one. If I break up with my partner I might not ever find anyone that treats me this well.
Staying in situations out of fear is a crappy way to live your life.
I believe you should obviously take calculated risks and not act recklessly in important areas of your life. You want to act thoughtfully but in my experience anytime I leave things behind that are no longer serving me something better comes along. Sometimes you have to clear space for new experiences, people and opportunities to come in. By saying no to things that don’t feel good you’re making room for better things to come into your life. In my experience raising my standards and taking bold action-steps has paid off BIG time.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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