Set Higher Standards for Yourself

Posted August 15, 2013 by Ellen Hunter Gans in On the Ladder
women on rock

It sounds like I’m telling you to mop your floors more often, or always read the Wall Street Journal cover to cover, or never be seen in public in yoga pants. Actually, it’s kind of the opposite.

What if you were to trade places with your best friend?

What would you say if you saw your best friend was:

  •  Working herself to the point of being ill
  • Putting up with a crummy job or boss
  • Putting up with a crummy boyfriend or partner
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Not getting enough nutritious food
  • Not allowing herself to relax, or indulge, or enjoy life
  • Abandoning her passions or hobbies because she’s too busy or tired
  • Speaking negatively about her body

You’d tell her to be kinder to herself.

  •  You’d tell her to cut out all the toxic stuff and treat herself better.
  •  You’d tell her she’s worth fixing the stuff she can fix and embracing the stuff she can’t fix.
  •  You’d worry about her, and — if she made a habit of any of the above — she might even frustrate and annoy you.

So why is it any different for you?

Why do we have higher standards for those we love than for ourselves?

I challenge you to watch yourself through someone else’s eyes for a day. Have an out-of-body experience. Notice how often you do things, say things, or tolerate things that you would never want your sister or best friend or (real or potential future) daughter to do, say, or tolerate.

Here’s to higher standards.

About the Author

Ellen Hunter Gans

Ellen Hunter Gans is a freelance writer and communications strategist. She's also a marathon runner, an Ironman triathlete, a wildly untalented cross-country skier, a newly minted Crossfit junkie, a yoga devotee, a wannabe culinary genius, a voracious reader, a grammar snob, a world traveler, an outdoorswoman, an oenophile, a mediocre gardener, and a secret fan of awful television. Her blog is at, and her business website is at