Standards are Overrated

you need to believe it's possible
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

How often do you compare yourself with some random standards? Moreover, how is that comparison affecting you from an emotional point of view? What about from an evolutionary point of view?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think standards are bad, especially the ones regarding our health and our safety. The standards I’m referring to are the ones imposed by other people or by our society. As an example, the beauty standards are some of the most applicable standards in today’s society. A beautiful person today is very different than a beautiful person 500 years ago (of course, one is alive and one is not, but that’s not the point here). Another standard is that women should be married and with children by the age of 30. Why? Why should this be a standard?

Standards can lower our self-esteem

If we compare ourselves with TV stars or with models, we can get an instant kick in the butt, and not in the good way. One of the standard ideas nowadays is that you must have lots of money. If we compare our income with this standard idea, we might end up thinking we can never get there. The same thing applies to the idea of beauty stated above.

Standards can determine us do dumb sh*t

While I agree that money is a great facilitator, it shouldn’t be used as a standard that inhibits our actions. Sometimes we’re afraid of doing something that we might end up losing some money or sometimes we might do some crazy sh*t to gain some money (the dudes and dudettes from prison can confirm this).

Furthermore, how many depressed people exist on this planet just because they haven’t had their first kiss until 25 years old? How many sick people are there because they tried to starve themselves just to look thin and beautiful because that’s what they see as being the standard?

Standards ignore our personality

Maybe you don’t want to be married by the age of 30. Maybe you don’t want to be married at all. Maybe you want to travel the world you’re whole life living with money earned from temporary jobs. Why should you have a full time job if it doesn’t suit you?

Maybe you don’t get math, but you are an excellent painter and you love art. Why should you learn advanced math in school if that’s not what you want? Or the other way around. If you love math, why should you spend time in art classes? I hope in your country isn’t like this, but that’s how educational system works in mine.

Standards are used to guide people

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, people might end up losing themselves in standards instead of trying to find out more about themselves and their uniqueness. With this in mind, I try to ignore the standards that can limit me and my abilities and focus on how I want my life to be.

How do you approach the standards you encounter?

19 thoughts on “Standards are Overrated

  1. I think the first and foremost issue I can to face is – “Do I want to apply this standard to myself?” The second part is “If yes, how so? If no, why not?”

    I’ve gotten to a place where I’m fairly comfortable being who I am. I’m not going to be able to reach the top shelf without a ladder. I’m not going to wear a size 0 – those are both physical impossibilities for me, just because of bone structure. Can I accept that – yep – moving on. Can I be a non-traditional student, successfully? I believe so. I don’t need to be a 20 something Sorority Girl. Do I need wealth to be happy? mmm – more secure and stable, so back to school I go. I don’t know if that’s a standard or brutal pragmatism at work.

  2. We should ignore the standards of others that are placed upon us unless they come from those who personally seek to help our development and growth.

  3. Such a great post. The majority has to understand that there is no competition in this world. Every person is always great at something and that’s what he or she should do. Math genius will never be successful doing ballet because mum said so. He or she will be average in it. But if he or she fuck up the standards he or she can be famous in math. That’s is so easy! And those celebrities, their life is awful! Money won’t give a happiness and they actually do if you know what you are doing and love doing it. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  4. I really had to ponder this a bit….. Standards are not necessarily bad or good. I think the impact that we allow them to have in our lives is where the issues lie. I try to follow a standard of treating others the way I want to be treated, being grateful, spreading love and kindness. But when faced with people disrespecting my “standards” those behaviors may go out the window. I have finally learned to love me for me. Look how I want, wear what I want but that takes a strong sense of self and good support. Standards are tricky- there’s no definitive right and wrong-imo.

  5. I will not say that I am not impacted my those standards. I am.. but you are absolutely true. We must not live according to standards set by someone else..That is hard to learn and do but not impossible
    And Education system is like this here also.

  6. Very true.our life is ours it is us who matters in our life and no one knows us better than ourselves.i don’t think so is there any place for others standards choosen for us.

  7. I think it all depends upon each individual’s own perspective about their standards in life. What standards they see themselves living up to and what they will do to achieve it. To some, procuring those specific standards is their only objective in life, therefore, they work towards it every day with everything they have. To others, standards don’t matter and in a way that’s their set standard, to not care about standards.
    So in retrospect, i think its all about perspectives and how we comprehend standards within ourselves and then try and incorporate them within our lives.

  8. Good read, as usual
    Unfortunately standards shapes our mental and physical “being” from birth to death. Those of us who are able to differentiate which standards to ignore and which one to reinforce can be considered alive.
    Those of us who fail to do so can be considered as hamsters in motion on a wheel.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind words!I often hear this “hamsters in motion on a wheel” thing. I guess that’s the best way to express the feeling…

      1. Yes, as one would only live within a “reactive state”, if he/she couldn’t differentiate when to ignore/reinforce standards.

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