Other people's pressures and expectations

Category: , , , , By panda_eyed
Tis the evening before I'm due to go back to work and I'm so full of dread. It's the thought of the tedious 'job' that still sort of feels like the studenty summer job, albeit with a fancier job title and a slightly better pay packet. But if I think about it, it's not just the job that has my stomach feeling all knotty and horrible. I know that I can change jobs, but it's not that black and white. I don't just want a new job, I want a whole new career. The hard bit? Not knowing what else I want to do or even can do, not wanting to start again from the very bottom, and the very worst bit - not knowing if I'd be able to cope with a different job with my CFS - that's the most frustrating part.

And of course, if we're talking about frustrations here, it's not only work that has me feeling so agitated, it's most things in general. Life, and the feeling of 'Is that all there is?'. I'm a single twenty-something year old girl in London; I have a degree, I'm intelligent, marginally attractive and a nice person - and yet, I feel as if I'm not doing this properly, not living life as a twenty-something should. What it all boils down to, I guess, is what the media, and 'other people' have set as the standard for someone like me. So much pressure from all sides - society, friends, and the biggest one - family. You know how it is, the feeling that you're not quite good enough - not successful enough, not thin enough, not rich or pretty enough, not popular enough. It's when five different relatives at a family gathering ask you 'So, why haven't you got a boyfriend?'; it's when you vegged in front of the TV all weekend and a colleague tells you about their wild weekend and then asks 'So what did you get upto?'; it's when your aunt says 'You've put a bit of weight lately, haven't you?', or 'So how much are you earning now?'. That feeling that you should be doing better or have achieved more.

Of course, it's not fair to completely blame other people for making you feel like this. Only one person can make you feel inadequate, and that's yourself. But there's not doubt that society 'expects' you to live your life to a certain template, and only the most robust and confident of people wouldn't feel at least some pressure. I mean, how hard is it not to be influenced by the media nowadays? How many young women pick up a magazine or switch on the tv, and think 'That's what I should be wearing', 'That's what brand I should be using', 'That's the kind of lifestyle I should be living'? It's not easy just 'being' nowadays, and if you go against the grain, you're labelled 'weird' or 'a hippy'.

I guess this is what being an adult is all about - struggling to accept oneself with all of the conflicting pressures of society's expectations. Whether you decide to conform to or rebel against those expectations, you've got to know and accept your limitations and capabilities. I'm not even sure if that's possible to do, but life is already hard enough without other people's expectations of you. I'm not sure I like being a grown up.

11 comments so far.

  1. Flighty 7:57 am, April 24, 2007
    It's your life so live it as you want to not as others expect, or want, you to.
    Don't be media led in what you do as they don't care one jot about you, only about how much money they can make from you!
    Take care. Hugs xx
  2. Anonymous 4:13 pm, April 24, 2007
    Oh sweetie!

    It is so hard to find your niche. I'm still struggling to find mine.It doesn't help when people seem to voice insecurities that you'd rather not be pointed out. Always here for you.xxx
  3. panda_eyed 5:12 pm, April 24, 2007
    Hi Flighty, I wish I was strong enough to be immune from it all! I know all their tricks, but it's not so easy to put into practice :) Hope you're well! xx

    Ames, you know how some people just *know* what they were meant to do in life? I envy those people a LOT!
  4. Flighty 5:57 pm, April 24, 2007
    I'm well thanks. It's a struggle for you I'm sure but at the end of the day if you don't live your own life you'll always have regrets.
    Few people ever know what they were meant to do in life. I'm not so sure that they are the lucky ones as I've known some become really disillusioned with their lives! xx
  5. Boso 6:28 pm, April 24, 2007
    Hey Panda,

    I know exactly how you feel. You're going to have to learn how to not let others influence you, at the end of the day, if things go wrong, how many of them will stick around? It's your life, live it how you want to !!
  6. feathers 8:35 pm, April 24, 2007
    It's not so easy when you feel as though you are on the outside looking in is it? No one should make you feel inadequate. Stand tall. Whenever I have similar feelings I make a list of everything that is good about me. Even the not so cool things. It may not be trendy to wear an old baggy cardy but you can make it trendy for you. By knowing how comfy you are and the confidence it gives you. People will perceive you as you present yourself and that only takes confidence and you have that. Be Strong and don't be labelled. You are an individual. A very beautiful one. Somewhere Pandy, there is a person wishing they had everything you have at this very moment. The grass is always greener on the other side. Make the best of every opportunity and take time to enjoy the little things.
    I do go on! Hope you are well. Sorry I haven't popped over for a while. xx
  7. nikkipolani 10:16 pm, April 24, 2007
    I have to say that hanging around my Asian family or even certain other Asian co-workers, there's a tacit (and sometimes not so tacit!) evaluation of who you are, what you've accomplished, your marital status, financial status, etc. I related so much to some of the comments you were hearing (I hear them or sense them at Asian weddings - I'm attending my last one this Saturday). For me, I try to be around people who are about ideas rather than status. Hugs, Panda.
  8. Olivia 12:04 am, April 25, 2007
    Hey, I really like that last paragraph...

    Look how old I am and still haven't accepted myself yet, still haven't....and so on.

    I would love to tell you that you have plenty of time, but what you said sums it up best: accepting oneself. Or as Polonius said in Hamlet: To thine own self be true. Easier said than done.

    I know, let's move to Camden and become hippies/goths/punks!

    But as Ames says, we are here for you.
  9. Anonymous 4:09 pm, April 25, 2007
    Yes I knwo exactly those people...the majority of my friends who are all teachers/social workers/parole officers. Eurgh!

    Just Livs to get in a Shakespeare reference ;)

  10. panda_eyed 6:25 pm, April 25, 2007
    Flighty, I know. I just wish it were a bit easier sometimes, but then, I am blessed with many things, so I can't complain. Shall just keep pootling on! xx

    Hey Boso, I shall try to do just that! Everyone else can butt out, right ;) Thanks for your suppport!

    Hello Feathers! You're so sweet to me! As usual, you hit the nail on the head with your comment. Confidence though - I don't really have much of that, although I try to muster up as much as possible! Thanks for stopping by honey - I haven't blogged much lately, so you haven't missed much :) Take care! xx
  11. panda_eyed 6:36 pm, April 25, 2007
    Hey Nikki, I've found the very same thing with my asian relatives and friends - they don't have the same political correctness as westerners and will always always comment on weight and marital status whenever they see you. Hope you have a good time at the wedding this saturday and don't get too annoyed by the comments! :) Hugs back! xx

    Hullo Livsy! Hows work?
    Would love to move to Camden - not sure about the hippy/goth/punk bit though, would have to get a whole new wardrobe ;)
    'To thine own self be true' - nice quote. Tis not easy, you're right. We can have a whinge about not getting it right next time we see each other, hehe.xx

    Amylou, we can always trust our little Smarty Livs to get in something intellectual ;) Love her for that! Hehehe..

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