Your Own Standard

Today, as I was driving to work, I realised that I was angry. It wasn’t that loud, volatile, crazy anger…no. It was that quietly seething while plotting in a corner kind of anger that you almost never noticed until it’s too late.

Needless to say, I was a little bit surprised. As far as I was aware, there was nothing for me to be angry at. Work has been tiring but enjoyable, I haven’t been 100% faithful to my diet but it’s not exactly anything to be irate about…life in general is going pretty decently thus far. Since I’m all for introspection and trying to better myself, I decided to investigate. I was angry at society…or something. That wasn’t it, so I dug deeper. I was angry at black identity and afrocentricity…no, that wasn’t it either. So I dug some more. I was angry at the standard for women, with their big hips and their tiny waists…perfect hair…ample bossom. It was around this point that I realised that I was truthfully angry at none of these things. And so, I dug deeper.

Before I had my grand epiphany, I thought I was annoyed at myself because my identity (as far as I’m concerned) is complicated. The only thing simple about me are the things I laugh at…and some of the conclusions I come to (but that is a story for another day). But that wasn’t it at all. It was at this point that I realised (finally!), what I was getting so quietly worked up about.

It started with the simple realisation that I would never match up to my own idea of an attractive woman. This isn’t to say that I don’t think I’m attractive, but that my vision of attractive is not myself. Not only that, I will never be that person. Ever.  I did not match up to my own standard of beauty. From there, I had a snowball epiphany. It was at that moment that I realised a lot of things about my personal standards and how they impact me.

Firstly, the standards that I hold myself to are not realistic nor do they factor in my ability. I use other people’s standards and measure myself to them. It’s like saying “Boys aged 18 are usually around 6ft 4in”…except, my genetic make up makes it impossible for me to grow past 5ft 3in. While 5ft 3 in might be average (or even outstanding) using my familial standard, by everyone else’s standard, I’ve fallen so very short. Cue feelings of inadequacy, possibly misery and general frustration.

I had become so caught up, trying to reach this unattainable (for me, anyway) ideal that I hadn’t appreciated how far I had come in my own personal journey. I also didn’t realise that, high expectations aside, I had reached a point where I was happy and accomplished almost all of my goals.

And I shared this story for a reason. I don’t suppose that I know what anyone is going through, but I know that some of us have struggles in common. My realisation that I struggle because of unrealistic expectations (that I put on myself!) made me wonder how many others struggle the same.

So, do me a favour. Next time you get frustrated with yourself, pause and ask yourself “Am I getting frustrated because I’m not measuring up to MY best, or someone else’s?”

Peace and Love, Family

-J

Also, shout out to whoever has been passing through from the United States, Colombia and Taiwan. Your readership is much appreciated 🙂

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