Integrity is the map to achieving our maximum potential; it is the wholeness of our self. As we pursue integrity, we obtain virtues that better us. We all desire to capture the best possible future that exists and make it our present reality; setting standards accomplishes this. Standards are the footprints on the path we hope we’re brave enough to take. They define our personhood and determine our character as we discern the character of others. How we believe we should be treated is directly related to the standards we create.
In our relationships, sharing similar standards is significant in keeping us from forfeiting our own. Whether we are trying to be more generous, self-disciplined, courageous, loyal, or obtain any other virtuous quality, being around others who are striving for the same will continue to encourage us in doing so. While we are on the path to becoming our best self, we need the support and shared pursuit of our friends and significant others. There is power in unity.
Standards are necessary and good for helping us navigate the road to becoming. However, when they turn into expectations for everyone else to live up to they become unattainable. An expectation can be dangerous as it often leads to assumption. No one can know what we want, need or think. It is imperative we communicate these things. When we fail to do so, we piggyback assumption, making our journey slower and heavier.
Standards are the footprints on the path we hope we’re brave enough to take.
Though, not every expectation we might have is negative. All humans and creatures deserve respect and kindness. If we surrender them, expectations can offer a hope and provide an opportunity to stretch our character. However, when we expect others to give what they don’t have or to act in a way that has never been modeled for them, we set them up for failure and set ourselves up for disappointment. In this way our grace is hijacked and we are unable to offer another the benefit of the doubt.
With our integrity in tow, we must carry our virtue not just for the sake of becoming our best, but also for the welfare of others. As we choose our close few to do life with and especially as we consider a potential mate, we should look for people who carry the same compass, who are traveling the same road and pursuing the same heights as us. With them by our side, the likelihood of achieving our best life is far greater as we marry our present hope to our future potential.
What do you think? When are standards helpful and when might they be harmful?
Image via Auste Skrupskyte