I’ve almost always have two classifications of people in my life. Those in the circle and those outside of it. I’ve never really been able to name this class system so I would sometimes refer to it as the good and the bad, but that never felt right. In a few heartfelt conversations with my husband and a friend I finally found the terms to describe my thoughts.
In my mind there are two types of people: the exceptional and then everyone else.
There are no set traits or skills that you have possess to be included in my exceptional circle. It does not matter where you grew up, how much money is your pocket, you political opinions, religious views, the color of your skin or sexual orientation. All that crap really does not matter to me. What matters to me is, “Are you exceptional?” Are you an exceptional artist, friend, humanitarian, business owner, coach, wife, dad, doctor or just an all-around exceptional person?
Now, judging people to be exceptional (or not) might be both my greatest strength AND my greatest weakness. I hold high, “exceptional” standards for those around me, both professionally and personally. It’s not the easiest thing to do, and I don’t always succeed, but being exceptional is important to me. I expect for those around me to be as exceptional as I try to be myself. To be candid, I think that drive to be exceptional is one of the reasons for my success in my profession.
But, when it comes to my personal relationships… well, I decide pretty quickly which circle you are in. If I pull you into the exceptional circle then the bar gets set high. Now, expecting my friends to be exceptional isn’t necessarily all about me, because ultimately, I want them to achieve only the best. But when expectations are set so high, it’s easy for me to be disappointed in those who don’t reach them.
My therapist–yes, I have one, and thank you for the recommendation Karin–told me about an AA saying, “Today’s expectations are tomorrow’s disappointments.” Because I have such high standards for people around me, it’s easy for me to become disappointed. So her advice is to have no expectations. Needless to say, it’s been difficult for me to adopt her advice (but I’m trying!). So far, it’s been an interesting way to look at things.
At the end of the day, if the standards in my mind are set high it’s really because I want you to be your best self. For you. Not for me.
Now… go be exceptional. Dammit.