Letting Go of High Standards

There are a couple of people I deal with on a daily basis who have both used the term "people-pleaser" to describe my demeanor and my behavior. Along with that label, they offered their analysis that "I need people to like me."

Actually, I could care less whether people like me or not.

On the surface, what must look like people-pleasing is actually a concerted effort on my part to overcome and to contain my natural tendency to let people know, with brutal honesty, when they don't measure up to the exacting standards I set for myself or for them.

I do have very high standards and expectations, which I have (and to a certain degree) continue to work on letting go of—in particular, in my relationships with other people.

But I do work to maintain my high standards in certain areas of my life. For example, in my work I set certain standards of quality for what I produce. At work, my striving for a certain standard results in high quality output.

In relationships, however, my striving for too high a standard has proven to cause conflict and pain, which I now prefer to avoid.

Rather than going to any length to get people to like me (which is the major manifestation of a people-pleaser), I am actually going to great lengths, internally and externally, to avoid the clashes and conflicts that naturally result from my seemingly innate ability to be extremely harsh, cruel, and brutal with my words.

I am in the process of learning how to use my "talent" for words in positive, constructive, and encouraging ways. And I am learning to let go of the high standards and expectations I set for myself and for others. Most importantly, I am learning to let go of my need to inform others when they do not meet my overly high standards and expectations.

Thank you, God, for showing me where my relationships undergo stress - from my need to express too harshly that others don't live up to my standards and expectations. Thank you for teaching me that kindness, gentleness, and politeness lead to rewarding relationships. Thank you for showing me how to let go of my high standards. Amen.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 7). Letting Go of High Standards, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: August 8, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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