Standards and Values: Is Your Book Worth Reading?
By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW
Published: March 2014
Participating in a healthy relationship begins with knowing your standards as a woman and teaching others your value. If you have found yourself in a cycle of being mistreated relationship after relationship, this article is for you.
When it comes to professional designations such as the title of Doctor, Lawyer, or Psychiatrist we can clearly understand why these types of credentials require professionals to have earned their titles through professional certification or university degree. The credentials help us to know that these professionals are trained and have earned their status as experts in their field. When it comes to providing the title of Husband, boyfriend, or partner, it is just as important to have your own set of standards before allowing an individual into this powerful position.
Before making your relationship official with a potential partner, consider them to be a student. Like a student, they need to learn about you and your needs. They will need to explore possible future goals with you, and demonstrate their ability or their plan for working with you towards these goals.
Now think to yourself, as a student, would you pay your tuition, show up for class, read every book, and ask your teacher questions if you could get the university degree for free? No, you likely would not. Does that make you incapable of doing these things? No, it doesn’t - but knowing you can obtain the degree for free encourages you to not want to put in the work, and opens the door for you to take the short cut. When you give away the status of partner or boyfriend without encouraging someone to learn about you and demonstrate their ability to meet your needs, you are lowering your standards.
Consider this, if you did proceed to obtain a Medical degree for example, without reading the books and doing the work, what quality of medical care would you provide and what would the experience of your patients be? Even if you had good intentions of helping them, how would you know the best strategies to do so? Studying and completing professional designation requirements would have better prepared you for the work you will face as a Doctor.
The same principle applies to relationships. What will your experience be if you start giving away titles for free in your life? How equipped will your partner be to fulfill your needs as a woman? You know your own book by heart but he has only read the cover page, does this qualify him to care for you? Definitely not.
Having standards for yourself includes being mindful of the exceptions you make for people in your personal life. It is not wrong to make exceptions given the right circumstance, however it is important to recognize that exceptions are compromises. When you make a major exception for someone, be sure to ask yourself: What am I compromising by the exception I have made? and why? What are the possible consequences of this compromise? Will these consequences hinder my wellbeing in any way, shape, or form?
Before sharing your life with another person, develop your standards by asking yourself the following questions:
What is most important to me in a relationship?
What makes me happiest in a partnership?
How important is my happiness?
What types of characteristics make me feel most uncomfortable?
How important is my comfort?
What are the areas in my life where I could use support or guidance?
What type of person would be able to support me towards improvement?
What types of actions have caused me to be hurt or hindered my wellness in past relationships?
How important is it for me to avoid experiencing these negative feelings again?
What characteristics do I have which make me a good life partner for someone?
What type of person would appreciate my abilities, strengths, and character?
Valuing yourself means recognizing that you deserve for your standards to be met and partnering yourself with someone who supports you.
One way of understanding the meaning of self-value is to consider yourself as a book. It is a truly significant way to understand yourself as each person has a story of their life journey. When it comes to the value of a book there are five main types of book sales: free, pay what you can / donation, reasonably priced, and over-priced. Understanding the differences between these types of books will help to prevent you from selling yourself short. After experiencing numerous failed relationships, many women develop a negative perception of “all men” as bad, abusive, or untrustworthy. The reality is, all men are unique. However, all men are human and most humans will accept a free offer.
Free books, magazines, and newspapers are everywhere: street corners, bus stops, outside of movie theatres, in malls, etc. The reason they are free is usually because the authors have put little work and time into the publication. They are seeking anybody who will read their book and fall for the ads inside. Who picks up these types of books? People who are bored - who just want a quick read while they ride the bus to where they’re going, people who are interested in the cover, people who can’t afford a paid book, people who read these papers as a daily habit for fun or entertainment, etc. These people generally do not keep free publications. The book ends up placed back on the subway seat or newspaper stand where it was found. People only shelve books that are paid for.
Books for donations - these types of books are purchased by people who have money to give yet have more important priorities, thus they will usually give a small portion of their resources in exchange for a book they are somewhat interested in.
Reasonably priced books attract those who are actually interested in the topic and are willing to pay the price; in return they are expecting a well thought out book. The purchaser plans to keep the book and take their time enjoying its contents.
Overpriced books receive the least amount of buyers. Buyers who do make the purchase have very much to give and expect very much for their purchase.
Take the time to recognize the differences in book values and who these types of books attract. Work towards seeing yourself as a book that is worth a reasonable price. Don’t accept a life partner who merely wants to donate what he wants to your relationship. If you have established reasonable standards and expectations of a life partner, there should be no difficulty in having these needs met by someone who is suitable for you.
Without standards, you are giving yourself away for free. If you cannot enforce your value, you are like a bestseller on the Free stand. You are missing out on a fortune of love that you deserve. Cash in! Make sure your partner has put in the work to earn the role of partner in your life by demonstrating his ability to meet your needs.
This perspective is not about selfishness, it is about self-care. By making too many exceptions you could be compromising your emotions, health, and potential for true happiness. Get to know yourself before selling yourself. If there are areas in need of improvement, edit your book first and then sell it so that you can get your true value.
You deserve it! But if you don’t see that, then no one else
Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies for women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey.
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