It’s important to be a good human being.

This includes speaking up or take action when something isn’t right or in alignment with good human behavior, ethics, or your standards. 

Healthy social norms function as a filter and a guide to help correct non-acceptable behavior. This type of norms help you frame behavior and make it clear when something isn’t right.

This is important.

But to really live your standards true to your heart and soul, with respect and goodness, focused on your unique gifts, personality and motivations, social norms is often a huge constrictor. 

Always being restricted by ”what others will think is good enough/beautiful/right/success” is often not helpful, but often leaves you anxious, exhausted, sad and confused. 

We all need to respect others and work for justice, equality and more kindness.
They are all foundational human behaviors/intentions/responsibilities, and we need to hold ourselves and others accountable to never cross the line of justice, respect and equality. 
Almost nothing in life is black or white, and the nuances in everything make it hard to define exactly where the limits are, but (almost) all of us know within us how we treat other human beings.

When we talk about social norms we are not talking about everyone’s need and right for respect, justice and equality, but the visible and so often daunting, mean-spirited comments and intentions from others. We talk about the restricting norms of what a successful life is, but also the invisible voice in our own head that often tells us what’s not good enough.

By letting others decide who you are or what’s good enough you pay a big price with your soul, creativity, love and vibrance. 

It is of utmost importance that you work actively everyday to be connected to the true signal inside yourself. Connection with the true source of who you really are. Actively let go of the noise around you and tune in to your own body, heart and soul. 

What are you about?

What is your life about? 

What are you here to do more than eat, sleep and laugh? 

What’s the bigger meaning of your work, beyond salary and compliments? 

What’s the source of the biggest fulfillment in your life? 

Which people do you love to spend time with?

Which people make you feel insecure and take away your vibrance? Why do they make you feel insecure?

Which people take your energy and/or poison you with negativity?

It requires a lot of contemplation, courage and honesty to answer those questions. 

If you’re not doing this work you risk being trapped by other people’s stories about who you are.
Social norms that are not helpful or the right type of measurements, standards or direction for how you lead your life. 

Living life as a person you’re not and spending your time and precious energy to every day conform to a structured outer story about who you are often leads to excessive work and an unhealthy pursuit of accomplishments as a way for you to prove your competence and capability to other people. 

You are spreading yourself too thin as a way to keep up with the (never-ending) demands to conform to all people’s (different) version of who you are and what you (should) do. 
It’s definitely exhausting, and over time a real threat against your health, vibrance, potential and connection with others. 

You need to operate from the inside out.

Letting your standards, core values and aim for life guide you. 

If the pillars of respect, equality and justice are in place you can do whatever you want to to lead a rich, colorful and fulfilling life. 

That’s the potentiality for all of us.


Photography by
Marcus Falk Olander

More of Standards Journal