Even if you don’t know exactly where to start, you will always know when you need to raise your standards.
Standards, boundaries, and mental health go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the others.
Your life is a direct reflection of the standards that you have for yourself and for other people. Most people who have impossibly high standards for others have very little for themselves. This used to be me. My intuition kept saying “raise your standards,” but I was frozen in my fears, triggers, and insecurities.
The scariest but most life-changing and rewarding thing you can do for yourself is to implement standards. This isn’t about “he/she has to make X amount of money” or look a certain way or whatever other superficial bs. Those aren’t standards. Those are conditions that rob your life of substance and meaning.
When you have real, substantial standards, the quality of your life will increase because you are finally able to ACT on the realization that your mental health is more important than:
- Your job.
- The expectations/hopes/dreams/plans that your family and friends have for you.
- Your relationships with them.
- Your romantic relationship.
- People pleasing.
No matter who they are or what it is, your mental health is more important than anyone or anything. Without it, you have nothing. However, raising your standards can be scary.
It’s scary to go no contact with someone that you still love and miss.
It’s scary to commit to non-reactivity.
It’s scary to block them.
It’s scary to let people live with the consequences of decisions that they chose to make.
It’s scary to experience the first symptom of standard setting which is loneliness.
It’s scary to ACT on “I will lose anyone and anything before I will lose my mind.”
But it’s worth it.
Prioritizing my mental health cost me friends I never thought I’d lose and family that I was convinced, would always be there.
And I’m not a failure for still missing them.
If prioritizing your mental health means disappointing them, then, by all means, disappoint them. You will finally stop being a disappointment to yourself and be able to reclaim this life as your own.
Before I get into the 10 things that happen when you raise your standards, I first want touch on setting standards for yourself, how to raise your standards in a relationship, and how to keep your standards high.
Setting standards for yourself and keeping your standards high
You can’t have relational standards until you have personal ones (and are able to keep those standards high). This all boils down to trying vs. committing. The secret to setting standards for yourself, raising your standards, and keeping your standards high is making a commitment to committing.
The biggest reason why people are commitment-phobic is that when you commit to something, you have to deliver. When you “try your best,” it’s okay if you don’t follow through because, well… at least you tried. You gave it your best shot.
There are no “best shots” when you commit.
When you are committed, you are all-in. Tunnel-vision. And you will see it through no matter what obstacles come into your path or how lonely that unbeaten path is.
- You commit to having your own back.
- You commit to not involving yourself in gossip, drama, fake friendships, and toxic relationships.
- You commit to acting on red flags because you are committed to no longer being a doormat.
When you are sick and tired of the wash-rinse repeat and are ready to make a lasting change, the first thing you need to do is raise your standards. When I stopped trying and actually committed to addressing my own toxicity… I became my own healer, champion, best friend, true love, and hero. I stopped looking for the world to pay me back and rescue me. I stopped being a victim because I was finally able to rescue myself.
Write down everything that you wish you could be and become. Then, write down everything that’s preventing this from actualizing.
Make a list of everything that you will no longer accept and tolerate. Take comfort in knowing that all of your pain and everything holding you back is nothing more than the result of decisions you have chosen to make.
How to raise your standards in a relationship
Raising your relational standards naturally happens when you raise your personal ones. Everything becomes so much easier and calmer. You no longer have to worry about what you’ll do if x,y, or z happens because you know what your non-negotiables are.
When you expect more from yourself, you won’t have to voice what you expect from your partner. They will either be able to reciprocate and give you all that you give or they won’t.
Either way, it will never have anything to do with you. Standards start within. No one can meet you at a relational standard that they aren’t first and foremost, meeting for themselves.
I used to think that having standards was all about other people. It was knowing what I would and would not put up with from “them.” Yet, I always ended up heartbroken, miserable, and dumped. The day that I took a look at myself and made a list of what I would no longer put up with internally… that was the day that I no longer had to voice what my standards were to anyone I was in a relationship with. Remember, you will never put up with being treated worse than you are already treating yourself.
10 things that happen when you raise your standards
- Loneliness. This is the number one symptom of standard-setting and it’s what discourages most people from committing. Just like when you do a detox and get flu-like symptoms, loneliness is the emotional flu-like symptom of standard-setting. Yes, it can be very lonely. And yes, there won’t be as many people that you connect with but the people that you do connect with… those connections will flush out the pseudo importance of quantity. And these relationships will fulfill you in ways that most people never get to experience. When you raise your standards, you begin to realize how many people lack personal standards (and you become that much more grateful and protective of your own). Here’s a conversation that a close friend and I had when I sent him parts of this post: HIM: “I really like ‘the first symptom of standard setting is loneliness.” ME: “The feeling of loneliness is the worst. It’s like life as you know it dumps you.” HIM: “Indeed. The upside: you know you’re in the right place.” ME: “Exactly. Isn’t it sad how we can lose friends and family by implementing standards and boundaries?” HIM: “It is. What it reveals is that so many of the people who ‘love’ us don’t know what that means. Love is acceptance, particularly of boundaries. When you lose someone because you make a decision for yourself, that person reveals that they’re more interested in controlling you than loving you.”
- Self-doubt. The loneliness will make you doubt whether raising your standards was a good idea. Those who can no longer manipulate you will crazy-label you. You’ll want to go back to the certainty of being that dutiful doormat but you won’t because you are now committed to your mental health.
- You attract people that you’re not usually attracted to. There’s no challenge and this bores you. This takes some getting used to. It takes time to learn how to be attracted to what’s good for us instead of what triggers us into becoming a performing circus animal. It takes time to enjoy your peace of mind instead of the yes/no, push/pull, hot/cold amateur hour chaos. But if you are committed, you will get there.
- Discomfort from the lack of codependency. You wouldn’t be able to recognize the need to raise your standards if you hadn’t been exposed to toxic people (who lack the very standards that you now know you need to raise). The toxicity became comfortable and now that you’ve done this master cleanse, you feel uncomfortable because you no longer need people to need you.
- Less drama.
- Increased self-respect. Your self-respect increases because you committed. You kept this promise to yourself and now, you’ve become more protective of your progress than you are desperate to hit the reactivity pipe.
- Self-compassion increases when you start to realize “I can’t believe I put up with that all sh*t.” Conversely, the compassion that you used to have for toxic people is no longer there.
- Unconditional confidence that no one can take away.
Keep going. You owe it to yourself to raise your standards.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.
Love love love !!! This post came through as I was getting ready to go out and stopped me in my tracks !! Can’t believe how it’s resonated to how I’m feeling right now. Thanks so much Natasha – guess what is playing on the radio in the background. “ My Way”. The legend that is Frank Sinatra ! Synchronicity right there. Love you lots – have a fabulous weekend ??? Xxx
ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME 🙂 This made my day. I’m so happy it helped! Thanks Jules xx
Love this and I love you. X x ?
I love you too Skevoulla 🙂 xo
This is exactly what I needed today! Thank you! Brilliantly written. I’m so glad you addressed that when you raise your standards you experience loneliness. As you well know, for 2 years I experienced such loneliness as a result of raising my standards and committing to change. If I didn’t have you there, telling me it’s expected, I would have gone back to quantity over quality relationships. I was by myself every weekend for 2 years! Just my dog and me. It was excruciating at times. It was worth it!! Loneliness turned into calm, peace, love for myself and eventually empowerment. I still experience loneliness, but now I know how to be by myself and use that time to be good to myself. So for those of you out there in the thick of it, stay the course! Read Natasha’s posts over and over. On the other side is the life you really want. I’m not fully there yet, but I’m on my way. Thank you Natasha! Love ? you!
Thanks for this Carolyn I didn’t understand the loneliness it felt strange, but I knew that reconnecting with the quantitive friendships, isn’t what I want – so reading your comment as well as Natashas post has really helped. Thank you wish you all the best and more ?? xxx
Thanks to Carolyn and to you Jules <3 Love you both xx
I love you too Carolyn 🙂 This means the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing.
You have no idea how many people you’ve helped feel less alone. XOX
Thank you!! How inspiring! And I can so relate to the “you and your dog” thing. ???? Thank God for our pets!!
Been experiencing this for over a year now, Its definitely a journey is all I can say. Sometimes you feel like you’ve got this and on other days it’s definitely not. It takes sometime to get comfortable with the new you who won’t put up with B.S. but as time goes on as Natasha says you won’t be able to believe you put up with so much nonsense.
We’ve got this.
I agree and couldn’t have said it any better 🙂 We’ve got this! Love you Denise. xxo
I love this post so much Natasha and you and everything that you stand for. ?
P.S. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new book!!
I love YOU so much Tiffany 🙂 xox
I just realized I wrote the exact same P.S comment on your last post ????? You can see how excited I am for the new book! Lol
Love you tons Natasha!
LOL! This made my day 🙂
Hello beautiful Natasha.
I was wondering yesterday why I go so long without my cell ringing. Now I know. When I read this post it brought it in perspective.
It’s very hard to be lonely but I would rather be lonely with standards than surrounded by people who have no standards.
Thank you Natasha.
All my love to you and your family this Thanksgiving.
I look forward to every one of your comments and this one is my favorite. I LOVE the way you put it “I would rather be lonely with standards than surrounded by people who have no standards.” 100% YES!
Thanks sister 🙂 Sending you and your Mom love from me and mine. xox
Your site has been such a source of insight for me. Thank you! As someone who has made it through the loneliness phase – though at times it was the worst – I’m so shocked by the number of friends who will stay in very toxic situations just to avoid it. It’s sad. It’s also been enlightening bc as I was so reactive all of my life, I assumed I was the weak one. Now, it turns out (with all the self care and work I’ve done) that I’m the strong one. And, though I’ve yet to meet anyone yet… I’m starting to recognize nice guys 🙂 And, again with the work I’ve done and the amazing insights I’ve received from this blog, I no longer feel that I’ll be too much for the nice guy. Thanks again for creating an maintaining this blog. Take care!
This is some of the most meaningful feedback I’ve ever received. I feel like I could have written this because I have been on the same journey and felt the same way. Thank you for destroying the loneliness I felt for so long and replacing it with affirmation that we are in this together; that we are never alone – especially when we feel the most lonely. All of my love, respect, and gratitude to you soul sister. xo
Your writing has been life changing. All I can say is THANK YOU. I find so much peace in knowing I am not alone.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Harmony 🙂
You are never alone. xoxo
Learning to love myself is the greatest love of all! Another song which rings true to all of this. this post was really beautiful and inspiring.
When you live and appreciate your self you tolerate less disrespect from yourself and other. Because you know to deserve to be treated correctly.
Thanks for the reminder that it all starts with us and knowing our worth and rais ing our standards with ourselves first.
Puts more of the power for creating a life we ‘ll love in our hands.
YES! 🙂 I love that song too and am so grateful for you, your love, and support. Thanks Keiwa! xox
What a powerful post! I’m so invigorated and inspired by your words on this important topic. Thank you Natasha!
Exactly how I feel about your perspective and words 🙂 Thanks Brandon!
This is the post I’ve been looking for! A few months back, I commented on your post about not having any friends and how it’s a good thing. I asked you about the “in-between time,” the uncomfortability and uncertainty we can (and do) experience when we begin to make these shifts with boundaries. This post addresses it!! I’m so happy to read this! I’ve been moving through the in-between and have gotten past most of the uncomfortability, but it can still creep in here and there when little triggers pop up. This post addresses it so well. Thank you again for sharing your gift with us so eloquently. ??
I remember 🙂 Thanks for being so patient Pamela and for taking the time to comment.
So happy that this post helped! Thank YOU for your support and for being here. All my love to you sister. xo
No thanks needed! I’m surprised you remember…you’re a very busy woman! I’m always excited to see an email show up with a new post from you. You’re helping so many people ??
I’m so glad I came to your site today. This post resonated with me so much. I am currently between steps 1 and 2 and it really hurts. Loneliness sucks. I almost gave up. This was a reminder to keep going.
Keep going Marianna <3 I know how hard it is and you are not alone. So happy that this post helped. xo
Hi Natasha! Thank you for this post. I am in 9 months of no contact with a very toxic ex. It is so helpful to have the difficult parts of the process fleshed out. It’s hard. And sometimes I am filled with self-doubt, shame, rage, loneliness, and sadness. This is the part in RomCom movies that get a 2 minute montage of a person eating ice cream in sweat pants with (maybe) messy hair, and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) it is much more lengthy, layered and complex than that. I am at a point of no return because I have become so protective of my progress. I had been able to ignore attempts to “hoover”, until a handwritten note had been left under my door apologizing, letting me know he cared deeply still, and asking to see me. I share this because I want other people to know that when your Ex reaches out, it is not anything to be envious of. While he was writing this note (on a paper with his son’s artwork for crying out loud) I had looked on his public IG profile for the first time in months, and saw he checked into a resort with his current GF a mere few days before (Yep, the one I was quickly “replaced” with). My thoughts of “maybe he really changed this time” were quickly replaced with everything I knew in my intuition. It made me angry and sad. He still thought he could abuse/manipulate me. It also made me feel compassion and sadness for his GF. I was able to see my progress in that moment, and even today reflect on it differently than when it was happening in real time. At that point, I made the decision to break no-contact to message him that I consider our interactions emotional abuse, and that I do not want to be in his life in any capacity. It was literally those two sentences. Calm and short. I blocked him so I could not see if he responded. One tactic that has personally helped me: repetition. When a toxic person has claimed residence in your soul, sometimes you think you are the crazy one, the narcissist, it was your fault, and that you are over-reacting, or should forgive him. When I felt that cognitive dissonance (which I can now accurately identify because I had to get my PHD in this toxic BS), I turned on your No Contact Contract. At times when my own denials and bargaining got so bad, I listened and re-listened to your words in the car, while dusting, feeding my dog, working out, but mostly when it was the most difficult: the mornings. It was this site that was a huge piece to the puzzle that opened up a plethora of learning, and journey of self-love. Cheers to 2020! xoxoxo
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking this time to share.
I want to include this incredible comment of yours in a blog post. Thank you so much for shedding light on this. The way you articulated everything is not only so accessible, but you are such an inspiration.
You have no idea how many people you are helping by having the courage to share what you did.
I’ve been there many times…
You get a crumb, but it’s a different kind of crumb than you’re used to. The nostalgia floods back and you start to believe that maybe, just maybe… they have changed.
But they haven’t.
YOU are the one who has changed. You’re no longer available to cater to their narcissistic panic.
This is applicable to anyone of any gender or orientation. It happens with everyone. And how nice is it to know that we are never, ever alone. All my love to you. xoxo
Natasha, thank you for such a thoughtful response. Beyond that, thank you for the creation of this blog and community to share stories and discuss these ideas of self-love! You are so accurate when saying this painful dynamic does not discriminate based on sex, orientation, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. We are never alone. It brought me my own increased healing to share my experience, especially if it at all can help anyone. I also believe that a lot of these toxic types thrive in silence and secrecy. Although I do not find it personally beneficial to speak to direct people in the toxic person’s life , to be able to talk about it more “globally” has felt like a large weight lifted. Thank you and much love back to you! xoxo
You post resonates so much with my life right now. Thanks for such motivating advice. Loads of love to you!
Love you back, Yana! Thank you for your love and support. So happy that the post helped; I live to give what I wish I would have had. Xx