Let Your Expectations Become Your Standards
You can only expect what you choose to stand by.
Daniel Scott describes the difference between standards and expectations:
“A standard is a level of quality, something that is accepted as a norm, and generally used as a basis for judgment. An expectation is a strong belief that something is going to happen in the future, or a feeling that someone or something is going to achieve something.”
For example, most public school districts (depending on the state you live) have academic standards that outline the qualifications of a specific subject matter within each grade level. It is expected that students will meet or exceed these standards in order to move to the next level, this is usually measured by benchmarks and state standardized testing.
Notice that the standard nor the expectation change based on the students readiness or ability to meet it, yet because they are affiliated with a particular school or district the consequences of not meeting the expected goal will ensue.
This principle can be applied to our personal and professional relationships. Quite often we use standards and expectations interchangeably, thinking them to mean the same thing and have the same affect when applied.
What usually happens is that we will have an imagined end goal in our mind of how a relationship should go, how someone should behave, and how we would like to be treated, etc. etc. This is not bad in and of it itself. The problem occurs when we expect someone else to meet expectations that have not been communicated or agreed upon and then hold them accountable to the consequences. This often leads to hurt feelings, disappointment, frustration, and at times anger and resentment.
Referencing the state standard example above, the administration of a particular school is able to hold students accountable to the expectations because the standards were clear. The parent and the student agreed on the standards and expectations when they signed the enrollment papers. There is no guessing what will happen if a student stops attending class, does not complete general assignments or benchmarks, or fails a standardized test. They are either repeating the grade or attending summer school.
The parent knows. The teacher knows. And the student and administrators understand what the result of not meeting the standard as expected will be because it was clear from the beginning.
Expect the Expected
There are a lot of relationship books and experts that urge people to “release expectations” and let live. I tried this and I’m good on that advice. While I understand the sentiment, I think if not applied with proper context, will encourage women to accept the bare minimum and be forgiving of things that would otherwise cause for execution- “off with his head!” Lol not literally, but you get the point.
Expectations are good because they provide the vision of how something should look, feel, and be experienced. Expectations give us something to look forward to and provides sensory feedback when we are veering off the road of our imagined end. What we must recognized is that while expectations serve a great purpose they are the servants to The Purpose, which are our standards.
Standards are less about feelings and experiences and are more matter of fact. Standards are the unwavering rules and qualifications that set the tone and pace and are generally used as a measuring stick to monitor progress and success. Standards give birth to expectations and expectations feed on standards. Think of standards as the mother and expectations as the child. The child is accountable to the mother, and its future success will be a direct reflection of the mother maintaining a clearly defined role, commitment to the end goal, and practicing consistency and discipline.
What Are You Giving Birth To?
Some of us are not mothers in the traditional sense, meaning that we have not had a child form in our womb and come through our lady canal, yet we are conceiving, carrying, and birthing everyday. Women are the mothers of the world because of our innate ability to create on demand. We have been given a sixth sense- intuition, complex intellect, a profound capacity to connect and relate, and a body that has the ability to bring the supernatural into the natural. Wow! We are a mystery unto our own nature and yet take very little time exploring the possibilities of our own creation.
The relationships we entertain, the jobs we do, and the ideas we produce are all birth of our own personal beliefs and will. What are you giving birth to? Do you want to make 100K a year? Do you want a family of your own or are you content with being the fun auntie? Do you want to travel the world without any restrictions? Do you want to work when you want and how you want or are you okay with working a 9-5? Do you want a husband who adores and cherishes you or are you satisfied with a man who comes around when you need a quick fix? Do you want friends who think, dream, and elevate or are you okay with being the smartest or less accomplished in your circle? Do you want a monthly shopping budget? A walk in closet? Do you want a small house, big house, or an apartment? Do you want a car to get you from A to B or a ride that you can stunt on people in? Do you want to best quality Brazilian wigs or Kanekalon? Do you want to be happy, sad, or indifferent?
The point is there is no right or wrong way to live this life and there are no limits to what you can have, but you have to take responsibility for what you decide to create. Many of us go through life taking what is handed to us or what is readily available because we are not aware of our own power to create or we are too afraid to blaze the path and demand out of life what we want. We are timid about requiring the absolute best out of life because we are afraid of being great ourselves. We fear losing friends, family, people who “knew us back when” and we fear the judgment that comes from standing out and being different from the rest.
None of the questions I asked above were intended to place any preference over the other. The reality is that there are women who want the husband, house, picket fence and dog while there are others that want a man to provide affection while she chases the bag. There are women who want to be the boss in their careers and love entrepreneurship while their are women who love working at a place where they know what to expect, when they will get paid, and when vacations are. There are women who love a good hair weave, others who are natural, and all the Goddesses in between who enjoy dabbling in both. The questions are there for YOU to identify what YOU want and then OWN IT!
The problem is that many of us are taught to want exactly what society, school, or our parents taught us to want. We rarely question if what we believe about relationships, sex, religion, money, school is true for the life we desire to live and the women we desire to become. We simply go through life checking the boxes of a plan that was given to use before we were even aware that a survey went out.
When we do began to lean into the inevitable discomfort of not living in alignment we become fearful of exploring the unknown territory of our own personal truth. We start second guessing ourselves when we question our beliefs because we grew up in the church. We feel weak when we admit that we are lonely and want genuine companionship because we never saw our mom need a man. We overload our mind with what ifs about the future if we even slightly ponder the idea of not wanting a family. We hold off on our plans to travel because we are responsible for our parents and siblings and the list goes on of the excuses- I mean reasons we tell ourselves to stay comfortable and complacent.
All of this keeps us from living the life that is truly ours. So often we expect things out of other people without holding ourselves to a quality standard that reflects we are serious about our goal. We expect that the universe will play fair and give us what we want just because we are good people and played by the rules. I’m here to break your Disney bubble and let you know that there ARE NO RULES except the ones that YOU CREATE. The longer you tell yourself what you “can’t have” and “can’t do” expect that to be your reality. The longer you stay where you are unhappy prepare to be unhappy. You don’t get a gold star for meeting expectations that were never apart of your plan in the first place.
YOU set the tone. YOU accept or reject. YOU are the chooser. YOU are the creator. YOU are the Mother of all and YOU have the final say as to what your child (expectations) will look and feel like.
Mother (Standards) & Child (Expectations)
You are the standard. You are the beginning and the end. Until you are clear on what you are (Woman/Mother) and who you are (desires, dreams, personal attitude and beliefs) it will be very difficult, if not impossible to give your child a healthy environment to thrive, nor provide any clear direction as to where its headed. When we are not clear we are more susceptible to people coming in and out of are lives restructuring the plan we never took serious and we fall victim to being pons in someone else’s game. Before we know it we’ve created a life never experiencing the things we had in mind and resort to blaming all the people, places, and things that we gave our best to for our own neglect.
Today is the day you get out of the waiting room of your own life. It’s time to explore, identify, and decide who YOU want to be and what YOU want out of life. Expectations without clear standards is like waiting on a dream to come true without ever taking any action toward it. Life doesn’t give us what we want, it hands us what we create. Check in with your joy- meter and get real with yourself. No one is required to meet or align with expectations that you are not willing to hold your standards to receive.
“The life you want is on the other side of the awareness you accept & the decision you make as a result.”
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