“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.” – Henry Ward Beecher

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you." - Henry Ward Beecher

Like any advice that invites you to raise the level of values and principles, there are challenges to overcome. In this case, it requires you to anticipate what others’ expectations are (not always easy!) and then exceed them (also not always easy!)

Assume you manage it – that you adopt a set of standards you know will drive you towards unexpected excellence (and one way to do that is to look firstly at what you yourself consider excellent – then go further with it) – there will be moments when you fall short. It’s inevitable.

Unless you are a living saint, there will be times when you fall short of your own expectations and that might coincide with falling short of others’ expectations too. What then? What to do?

This is where the “hold yourself responsible” part comes in. 

Neither can you nor should you hold others responsible for your shortcomings. Our actions are our choices. So, at moments like these, you get to practise things like presence, humility, acceptance, contrition and reparation. These too can be a standard to which you can hold yourself accountable and the more sincerely you practise them, the more likely you will be favourably received – because in others, forgiveness is easier when faced with sincerity.

All is not lost when errors happen – consider them an opportunity for growth and it could even turn out mutually beneficial. It is said that “To err is human” – well, the real test of character comes after error – so when that happens, hold yourself responsible for a higher level of sincere acceptance, humility, learning and love.

Even if you didn’t ‘fail’ in someone else’s eyes, practise some self-love by forgiving and trusting yourself to learn and grow. You can expect others to do that if you do!

What’s going on around you right now wherein you could benefit from digging deeper into soul-based sincerity? Where might you have fallen short in terms of the standards you expect of yourself?

Love and light,

Jim Sharman



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