High Standards – Low Expectations

High Standards + Low Expectations = Peace of Mind

Chanee Momoko

I’m sure you’ve been in (many) situations before where the feeling of disappointment is so deep that it’s physically painful…? Whether that be a disappointment in yourself, others or a situation. Disappointment often has friends that show up. These friends tend to be anger, guilt, frustration and suffering, to name a few.

Disappointment is the gap between expectations and reality.

So what’s a girl to do?

If we don’t want to go through life feeling possible regular disappointed, yet we don’t want to turn into a pessimist, always thinking of the worst-case scenario…?

That, my friend, is a very good question wouldn’t you say…? Which is why I want to share with you one of my favourite mindset tools;

High Standards – Low Expectations

Chanee Momoko

Meaning & worthiness

First off, what does the word standard actually mean in this context? and secondly, do you feel that you are worthy of a high standard? ***Hint – YES YOU ARE WORTHY! Even if you don’t realize it… yet…!

Standard >>> a level of quality or attainment.

When we set high standards for ourselves and others – in any life area – we are simply stating;

“This is the standard that I have set for myself and/or you. I am worthy and deserving of receiving and experiencing this high-quality experience -relationship- product – life.

We set our own standards depending on our past conditioning and experiences and how worthy we feel as a human. You can increase your worthiness by increasing your self-love and doing the inner work needed to raise the standard for yourself.

If you don’t feel worthy of high standards for yourself and your life, then you will set low standards and then always expect negative outcomes. This correlates to the self-esteem circle:

But I’m not here to talk about self-esteem specifically – today anyway!

Detach from the outcome

So how can we set high standards for ourselves and our lives without feeling disappointed if these things don’t turn out that way in reality?

One way is to detach yourself from the outcome. Instead, focus on your daily choices and actions and celebrate those. This way you are letting go of the contorl and forcing of the outcome – because it’s not actuall in your control to begin with – yet at the same time doing all that you can to reach the desired outcome.

When we set a high standard – let’s say that you have set a goal to workout 5 days a week and to increase your strength by 10% by the end of the month. You will know that you have accomplished this goal because you will be able to lift weights that are 10% heavier than you are currently lifting by the end of the month.

But what if the end of the month comes around and you can’t lift those heavier weights, yet you’ve stuck to your weight training plan throughout the month? How are you going to feel?

If you set your expectation to the outcome as high as your standards, then you will surely feel immense disappointment. You even think “screw this, all this effort and I still can’t lift the heavier weights.” You won’t celebrate what you have improved on and you may stop the weight training all together.

If you detached yourself from the outcome (low expectations) but instead, celebrated the actions that you took every day (high standards) then you will most likely feel proud that you did all that you could and keep moving forward toward your goal. Maybe feeling a little “meh” but it’s not going to cause you great emotional pain.

Life happens

Another way to live by high standards – low expectations is to understand that life happens!

Here is an example if you have set your expectations as high as your standards:

Let’s say you made a promise to yourself that you will get up at 5.30 am each weekday where you will then complete your morning routine because this routine sets you up for the day and makes you feel great! Buuuut today your phone wasn’t plugged in overnight and your battery died so your alarm didn’t wake you up. This caused you to miss over half of your morning routine and you feel annoyed, angry at yourself, or your phone (or your partner because of cause it’s somehow their fault! 😉) and your mindset is “It’s one of those days”…

Here is the same example but this time you have set your standards high yet kept your expectations lower:

You wake up late because of the alarm not going off – but instead of being pissed that you’ve missed half your routine, you take a few deeps breaths, understand that “life happens”, pick out the most important things from your morning routine, do what you can and then celebrate yourself for making the most of the time you had!

It isn’t a free pass to drop your standards…

High standards – low expectations isn’t a free pass to just drop your standards and only expect the worst…! It is a mindset shift that can radically help you to live with peace of mind and it will encourage you to keep moving forward in life with your high standards!

The difference between expectations and standards is that you can lower your expectations without sacrificing your self-esteem.

I don’t think we can say the same of our standards.  While our circumstances are often out of our control, both of these attributes are not; we can set them deliberately.


Perfection is where high standards meet high expectations and can lead to procrastination and eventually paralysis.  The dreaded 3 P’s.  Look it up.

Nothing is perfect — not a job, not a friendship, not a house, not a spouse.

Nothing lasts forever — not possessions, not happiness, not life, and certainly not chocolate. 🍫 😭

So remove yourself (with practice) from the perfectionist mindset – the black or white – all or nothing (diet-binge cyclers I see you 😉) and adapt high standard s- low expectations for yourself!

But what about other people?

Have high standards for the people you let into your life but low expectations for everyone, including the ones you let in.

High Standards – Make sure you are not welcoming trouble into your life. What do you want in a relationship? What do you think you are worthy of? When the red flags start flying – GTFO!!!!

It helps me if I think of people as givers or takers. Givers will work with you, be there for you, and are actually interested in your well-being. Takers are only looking at you at something to serve them. Something to lean on, borrow from, something to keep them from feeling lonely. If you do encounter someone like this, or if someone you are close to is a taker, remember that IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIX THEM.

Having low expectations with others allows you to be surprised and delighted when your friend/partner is awesome, but not let down when they don’t live up to your ideal version of them you have in your head. 

There are some truly awesome people out there, but they are not perfect. There are a few things that are going to annoy you, but you have to make the decision if the relationship is worth it or not.

It is actually unfair to put this expectation on people that they are perfect and without flaws. That is a lot of pressure and any person is going to feel that pressure of having to live up to your unrealistic expectations projected on them. So again, it comes down to “do their flaws outweigh their good points?” (I have legit done pros and cons lists for my relationships before!)

Lastly, and maybe most importanlty, make sure that you match what you expect in others in quality. Make sure you have the same qualities that you desire in others and don’t have any red flags like bad habits, temper, emotionally unstable, or dependence on other people. 

Look at your life and decide if you would want to be in a relationship with yourself first before you expect others to…

If you would like help with adapting this mindset perspective into your own life, explore the ways you can work with me.


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