Are You Raising The Bar or Lowering It?

Are You Raising The Bar or Lowering It?

Have you ever steadily reduced your expectations of someone to such a degree that you shocked even yourself? Maybe you started off thinking they have to treat you with respect at all times, yet, now, you ignore their angry outbursts, rude comments, and passive-aggressive silences? Perhaps, you always thought that you would share household responsibilities with your partner only to realize that you do everything while your partner does little to help?

If you’ve lowered the bar in your relationship, you are in good company; many women lower the bar. Most of the time, this lowering of the bar is a very gradual process. One day, you ask your partner if they could put their clothes in the laundry basket, talk about weekend plans, or (fill in the blank), and they became angry with your request. Maybe, at first, they rolled their eyes, sighed, or became mildly annoyed, and you let it go because it was no big deal. Another time you ask for something, they tell you to stop being a nag. A few days later, you ask to spend time together after dinner and they snap, “Jeeze, what the hell now”? When you question their reaction, they get defensive and blame you for their anger.

Over time, and after a number of these experiences, you begin to hesitate before bringing up issues. You don’t want to ruin the night or upset your partner, so, why not drop it? As time goes by, each defensive response, angry outburst, or sullen withdrawal by your partner, becomes another landmine for you to avoid in the future.

Add to your partner’s reactions, the messaging females hear most of their lives, and it’s the perfect storm for your silence and lowering of the bar:
• “Don’t be a bitch”
• “Don’t be too demanding”
• ”Be nice”
• “Be forgiving”

Over time, these messages leave girls, and women alike, trying to twist themselves into a pretzel in the hopes of not upsetting the ones they love. You don’t want to be too needy, too demanding, too “cold”, too fat, too…much. Sadly, the way you tell if you’re “too much” is by the reactions of those around you. So, you stop asking for what you really want and learn to accept what you’re getting.

If you’ve ever gotten yourself into a place of being taken advantage of, treated poorly, or staying in an unhappy relationship, chances are you’ve allowed the thoughts, reactions, and opinions of others to trump your own. This is the surest way to lose yourself—and a set up for bad relationships.

Stop gaging your expectations on what you think others will or will not do and raise the bar on how others treat you. Don’t allow another person’s, silence, rage, defensiveness, withdrawal, or (Fill in the blank), leave you accepting the unacceptable. The sad reality is that if you keep lowering the bar to make others more comfortable, one day you’ll be sitting on the floor wondering how the hell your life became so damn uncomfortable.

Challenge: Stop determining your actions based on the imagined reactions of those around you. Know you deserve to be treated well by all people, at all times, and don’t ever lower this standard for anyone. Stand your ground. Have your back. Raise the bar.