As a kid my parents told me I could have anything I ever wanted in life if I worked hard. Whether it was getting into the best college, achieving success at my job, or finding the perfect man, I assumed that all things were at an arm’s reach – but only if I wanted them to be. After a while, these dreams began to mold my standards of living. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized perhaps my “standards” are getting in the way of my own potential.

Dating in the gay community, for example, is no bowl of cherries. Too often I’ve run into a-holes, slackers, party boys, or pretentious guys who thrive on artificiality. However, the longer I dated the more I began to see a common thread. I didn’t like anybody. I mean, at all.
I started to ask myself: have I been the pretentious one all along? All this time I’ve been judging others when, really, I should have been investigating myself. It was then I discovered the conundrum. My standards were far too high, but not just a typical “perfect man seeker” kind of high. They were so far unreachable that anyone who dare tried to show their worth was immediately judged. If they didn’t live up to my expectations (which were continuously expanding), the message was that they weren’t good enough.

Sadly I don’t think I’m the only person who’s had this epiphany. In today’s culture, gay men are everywhere. Not just that, but we boastfully decorate our world with the hottest of men. They’re on flyers, advertisement boards, pornography, and even our desktop. These images, as the younger person I was, began to morph my standards in how I saw men.
I started going to the gym every day (because if you don’t have a six pack, you’ll never attract one, right?), I began a killer diet program, and I reorganize my entire wardrobe. In other words, I was trying to match my own standards with my lifestyle.

Eventually these standards surpassed the dating scene and began to affect how I viewed everything. My job, my apartment, my friends, my future, everything fell under a scale of what I called “not good enough.” It wasn’t long till my friends took notice, reminding me that I completely lost who I was, choosing to be something fake, something that was nothing but an illusion.
Standards are never a bad thing to have. It’s how we define our self-worth, and without them it will be very hard to climb the ladder towards success, but there comes a time when we must all second-question them. If we set our standards too high, we are destined to become picky, and a picky person is never satisfied.

Every person in life has their own journey, and if we judge our standards based on the world’s criteria, we will always be living a lie. In my life I’ve learned that anyone can achieve something if they put their mind to it, but unless you keep an open mind to all things less than satisfactory, you will never reap the milestones you’ve set for yourself. Who knows, maybe I have a lot to learn yet.

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