There is no limit to the illusion and expectation of standards.
Standards. Standards of behavior. Standards for perfection. I have standards.
The illusion of standards: the idea that whatever you do must be measured against inner standards to be evaluated and judged. The problem is that these standards are often unconscious, not clearly defined, or hidden behind stories about yourself which no longer serve the best you can be and become. Most inner standards are created outside of self and its truth.
How do I know about the illusion of standards? Mainly, because I find myself bumping up against my own inner standards as I look at what stands in the way in my life. Seems recently I have been addressing a whole slew of this obnoxiousness.
One of my strongest areas of learning in the last six months has been about expectations. What do I expect of myself? How do I expect my life to go? I’m not talking about goals or objectives, I’m talking about the rigidly held beliefs I have about myself and my life. The rigidness comes from my expectations. Believing that my expectations are exactly how my life will be creates trouble especially when things go differently than, well…expected.
When life isn’t as expected, I find that I weigh the outcome and the process against my standards. I often find myself lacking because, apparently, I can be really hard on myself. Sound familiar?
Here’s an example. Recently I decided about something in my life, something I was truly excited about. Yet, there is a part of this something that is right out there in the big middle of the unknown. And the unknown mainly has to do with the future and events which have yet to transpire. By definition, a something that is unknown. Nonetheless, I realized today that I have been giving myself no end of trouble over the unknowing. It’s not even a new unknown. I knew about this aspect when I made my decision. What gives? Why be so hard on myself about not knowing? What’s the standard with which I am judging myself?
I asked my Akashic Records and received this response:
You take a lack of clarity as an indictment of you and your lack. Standards are all about control in the moment when you feel that you haven’t measured up to the Standards. Your belief is that you must always know in a static, linear sense. Which is so ironic given the dynamic nature of you and your work. Know though you are releasing this belief. Know you are allowing yourself the space to melt into a tenderness which is okay not knowing and doesn’t perceive not knowing as a lack of measuring up.
Whoops! I judge myself for not knowing because somewhere down deep I have a standard that not knowing is equal to me not being good enough. Talk about cutting close to home! That explains well why I have a hard time not knowing. And why I will go through some incredible pretzel-twists to try to grasp at straws, weaving together something resembling knowing. Some of those straws are expectations, other straws are assumptions, with a little fear and perhaps a bit of blame woven into to create a false sense of “I KNOW”! All to avoid the realization that I might not be as perfect as I feel compelled to be. Talk about illusion!
Now I realize where the affirmation I wrote for myself last week comes in to support me:
In each moment of my life, I receive delight jumping into the unknown.
The unknown is not about something missing in me. The unknown is source of what I can know and learn.
To bring this together, I will combine this affirmation with another to address the issue of lack:
I am not lacking in my unknowing – instead what I don’t know in this moment allows the best of me to move forward with grace and ease.
With that thought, jumping into the unknown is a delight because I am no longer hung up on being less than by some illusory sense of standards. I can take a breath, let go, and honor the beauty in me just as I am.
Today, I think I’ll let this soak in.
Right now, it’s time to allow my self-tenderness to step forward in loving support of me, and my being and becoming.
Shifting from illusion, to supportive awareness, impossible standard released.
Tomorrow I’ll sit with my perfectionism.
This is an article about the illusion and expectation of standards related to my book, To Do Your Work.
For a deep dive, begin with What is Spiritual Practice?