Raise Your Standards

Create new standards and improve your life: This starts with changing your relationship to change. Now I don’t often start things off by quoting Tony Robbins, but this quote was a game changer for me:

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.’

Tony Robbins

Lately I’ve been having conversations about proactive change. We talk about how hard it seems to create change when one should versus when one one has to. This mode of thinking is endemic in our society. We needn’t look further than weather patterns, including mega-storms and wildfires, to see it. There’s the trope of rock bottom, which is where so many people get before making the change that launches recovery.

Change is always coming.

I was thinking back on my own life, living with C-PTSD and coping with trauma by retreating deep into my own head. When you can survive, and seemingly thrive, by retreating into your head there’s rarely pain in just staying the same.

So how do we create change without reaching rock bottom?

If everyone could naturally create change without pain, everyone would be doing it. It might lead to a Utopia or it might lead to absolute chaos with very little consistency, I can’t be sure. What is clear is that we could all use that in some area of our lives, we could each do a little better creating change without pain.

The secret is to raise your standards: When a situation falls below your standard, create the same change you would as if it was your new rock bottom. With raised standards, you are in the driver’s seat for your own wellbeing and your own happiness. You are empowered and creating change before hitting that catastrophic rock bottom.

Many of us with trauma aren’t used to having standards at all. The expectation that things could or should be different feels like a tease. And change of any kind can be scary. We’ve been there before, with hope, so why try? My contention is that we build our selves from the inside out, but also from the outside in using our community and resources. If that sounds privileged, it is, but I personally hope it won’t always be and that I can be one of those resources for folks along the way.

When we’re well enough, when we’re ready (or maybe even just a bit before we’re ready to provide a kick in the butt), we can build new standards that we create our lives on top of.

How do we create new standards and improve your life?

If we could draw these up, check a box, and just move ahead, we’d do this all the time. We root standards in values, how we hold ourselves, and some mix of pragmatism & idealism.

I work with clients to look at the resources they have inside of themselves, and we all have so many, and then look outward to build the support they need for change. I work with some clients around ‘rock bottom,’ but we have our eye on the prize of empowered change through thoughtful action.

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