When It’s Okay To Lower Your Standards

by Tamara Jacobs


“If you’re betrayed, release disappointment at once.
By that way, the bitterness has no time to take root.”
— Toba Beta (My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut)

It would seem pretty evident that one should not accept less from people than what they themselves give, yet this is a problem many of us face.

How many times have you found yourself fuming with frustration when feeling let down by someone you thought you could count on? I know it’s happened to me countless times. Surprisingly the advice I often get is to lower my bar and not expect so much. What kind of advice is that? Why should I have to lower my bar just because someone else is too inadequate to reach it? The truth is I shouldn’t, and neither should any of you.

Unfortunately though, these situations usually lead to greater grief experienced by us than by the disappointing friend/colleague/parent/lover/// which is most likely why this otherwise terrible advice has been passed on to us- it’s a quick fix to a big headache.

An alternative to lowering your bar of course is to find yourself some new friends, better, possibly more honourable people capable of reaching your standards. This is something you should probably be working towards regardless. However, some relationships are too important, too old, too meaningful to abandon completely and a call to readjust your expectations might be in order. If you choose to do this, then don’t do it with bitterness because that really won’t help improve things. Do it understanding that you’re doing it for yourself, to help you move through things with less stress and to see the positive qualities in your friends again, instead of always focusing on their shortcomings.

Presumably those you surround yourself with have something redeeming about them. Perhaps they’re fun to go out with or always up for anything, or maybe they have a non-judging character and a tolerant personality. Whatever it is, try to find it again and remind yourself that that is why they’re your friend. In other words, know who you’re dealing with. I promise that as soon as you do you will notice that your relationships are improving and the reason for that is because you’ve taken the pressure off of them.

With that said you must acknowledge that as you grow up your needs and interests change and the friends you had in high school might no longer be heading in the same direction as you. It is important for your own growth that you find people with similar interests, both professionally and personally, because it is those people that will help push you to where you want to go. I believe that we are all looking to be inspired in some way, and those doing exceptional things tend to be the ones we most want to be like. Find them, learn from them and direct your life in a similar way.

As for you disappointments, step up your game, people won’t always be so forgiving.