Standards—the different qualities people hold themselves accountable to. We all have them, we all follow them, but have they evolved over time to become unrealistic? One-hundred percent. But, the question is why?
People in today’s generation tendency to set too high of standards roots from one of the things that defines today’s society: social media.
Every day, whether it is on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or even the web, we are bombarded with pictures of other people and their lives. This means every day a ten-year-old girl could be looking at a picture of Selena Gomez, thinking that is what she has to look like.
From such a young age, we are seeing the prettiest people and luxerious lives that exist, and oftentimes, people don’t know how to separate those standards from their standards.
So, we all end up with this common issue—we are all setting way too high of standards for ourselves.
By being able to constantly view these unrealistic lifestyles and people, we are punishing ourselves and setting goals that are more likely to be unreachable than not. Not everyone can expect to be an Oprah, but in today’s society, we are guided by ideals that follow along the lines of exactly that.
But why is it an issue? So you endlessly scroll through famous Instagram pages every day and watch the newest Youtuber vlog because you aspire to be exactly what you are looking at. Aren’t we supposed to set high standards for ourselves?
The answer is yes, we genuinely do aim to set high standards for ourselves in order to become “the best person we can be,” but there is a substantial difference between high standards and impractical, unrealistic standards.
And this exact difference is why these new extreme standards are harmful to people around the world. To state it blatantly, we are automatically setting ourselves up for failure.
Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of the same thing as everyone else. Every day, I view different famous people and pages and all different unrealistic things on social media, and I desire to have and be these things I see.
I am driven by this same desire as almost everyone else to be the best person I can be. That means living up to my standards—emphasis on the “my.” However, there is the competition factor. For some people, standards are a dependent factor on the drive to be better than the next person. It’s the ‘I’m-gonna-be-better-than-you’ factor. There is also the self-motivated standards that come from other things or experiences in life. But then, the real kicker to these high standards, comes the celebrity factor; your standards must be set to the level of Gigi Hadid, an eminent model with the power of influence.
In reality, my standards shouldn’t be the same as yours, and they most definitely shouldn’t be the same as Leonardo DiCaprio’s. But when we see all of this “high standard” stuff on social media, the repetition just ends up seeping these excessive standards into my brain. My realistic, healthy standards are washed away, and I am left with goals I will, let’s be honest, never achieve, and standards I will never be able to live up to.
And, as the story goes, with unreachable goals comes this constant feeling of failure and wanting more and more as well as this waning sense of disappointment. The higher and more prestigious our standards become, the worse we will begin to feel about ourselves.
What does this mean for us?
The higher standards we hold ourselves to, the less goals we achieve. By expecting too much, we receive even less. And a common trend that comes hand in hand with this disappointment is a lack of motivation. If we can’t live up to our standards ever, then what would push us to work our hardest? To become the person we were designed to be? These unreasonably high standards we all seem to be adapting are actually harming us more than propelling us forward in life.
So, if you don’t know, your standards are probably too high. You need a balance, and one of the key things to success is finding that steady balance.
Standards are designed to provide a certain level of qualities expected or desired by ourselves. We set them so we have certain goals and ideals in our lives. They are intended to be helpful, not harmful, and the helpful balance is the one we need in order to live the lives we aim to have.
We can’t expect too much of ourselves, but we also don’t want to expect too little. It is the precise scale in between that we need to balance. We want to push ourselves but not to an unrealistic level. Give yourself credit, but don’t expect yourself to become the next Oprah.
Standards were created for our own benefit, and it’s time people realize the standards of becoming the superstars we see on social media are simply standards set too high. We are pushing ourselves too hard.