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As my friend Marcio said:
"Life is full of pressure."
Back in school, we would go through 'peer pressure' and many were influenced to have sex, drink alcohol and even try drugs to be accepted by their friends. But that pressure didn't stop in school did it?
Life really is full of pressure! As you log into to your social media you will see people living lavish lives, and that will have you thinking that you're doing nothing with your life OR it might motivate you to work hard and follow your dreams.
Famous people and influencers might influence you to change your attitudes, opinions, and image in order to be like them. Things mentioned in music lyrics and portraited in music videos can make you think that you need to do certain things (legal or illegal) in order to get the same status as those people.
You might see everyone around you in a relationship whilst the only texts you're getting are "battery full, please remove charger," and that can have you pressured into finding someone. Or maybe you're in a relationship but you feel like single people are doing better than you, so you begin to see faults in your relationship.
Approval from your family members might have you doing things you have no interest in. The need to be at the top in work or school can have you overwhelmed and distressed as you seek to reach your full potential. Maybe your a religious person that's trying hard to follow the 'right' path and you're finding it difficult to really live according to your beliefs.
The things I mentioned above are just a few things that I notice in my life and the people around me. Maybe you're going through different types of pressure and influences that lead you to follow others, or go out of your way to please them.
Fear of failure and fear of rejection are the main reasons why we give into pressure and allow ourselves to be influenced. They're the reasons why we follow others. Even if we have different perspectives of life, we all want to be acknowledged in some way, we want to be happy, we want to be successful and feel content. But who are we really living for? Do we want these things for ourselves or for the sake of impressing others?
Have we turned into Apps? I feel like we're in constant need of being updated. Updated in our money, status, and appearance.
But how far does the need to be accepted and successful take us? I'll ask you and myself again. Who are you really living for? Where is our happiness coming from? Are we willing to lose our essence in order to be accepted? We are! Why? Because nobody likes to feel rejected. It takes a lot to accept rejection and accept that not everyone is going to support you and agree with you. Not everybody is prepared for that. Hence why is so easy to give into pressure and let ourselves be influenced.
I was going to use a picture of a pathway to illustrate this article, but when I saw the above picture it made me think in the following way: Imagine that hand is you, someone asked you to hold that ice, you're trying to find a cup to put the ice cubes, but you can't. So instead of putting it back in the freezer, you just stand about holding the ice, because that person asked you to hold it. The ice is your life, your need to be accept by others, the ice is you being constantly influenced, the ice is your fear of rejection. Then imagine that, the strength and care you put into holding on to that ice is the pressure you allow into your life. At the start them ice cubes will be solid, after a while you're hands will begin to get colder and eventually the ice will all melt and after that you're hand will still be cold for a while. You physically can't hold water in one hand for too long. So what will you have left once them ice cubes melt? Nothing. Would you hold the ice?
If we couldn't find a cup, common sense would tell us to put the ice cubes back in the freezer, bin them or give them back to whoever gave us them. However, how come when it comes to our life, we are willing to do things that will leave us empty in the end. Why do we hold the ice for others?
Following others whilst you're losing yourself will lead you to nothing. Nothing true. No matter how much you convince yourself of certain things, if they are not YOUR TRUTH, you will be left with an empty feeling. Living to impress others-is living FOR others.
As my friend Du said:
"Not all peer pressure is bad though."
I agree. There's a lot of excellent examples out there to learn from (notice I didn't say follow—as we all have our own path), and there's even people in our lives that want us to succeed hence why they push us so hard. But what's the point of all of that if that's not what you truly want. We often get lost living other people purposes in life, trying to keep everyone happy and impressed. Often it's because we haven't found our own purpose, it's easier to follow others when you don't know where you're going or how to get where you want to be!
At times people will pressure us without even realising. Things they say or even how they say it can dwell on your mind and begin to influence you slowly. The need to support our friends and family can often make us forget to look after ourselves. A lot of us would rather be sad in a room full of people than happy in an empty room. That's where we fail ourselves.
It's not a matter of, if these people would do the same for you, its a matter of why are you doing for others and not for yourself?
Depression often begins with questioning our purpose in life, the feeling of not belonging anywhere and feeling like we don't make a difference in this world. You can have a lot, and still feel empty, and a lot of people who you may look up to, can tell you that. At times this happens because we didn't live our truth, we didn't accept our reality and deeper issues.
Whether your struggling academically, in your career, family, social life, sexuality, relationships, mental health, religion, addiction, and so many other things that we have to deal with in life. Please do everything in your own time and in your own truth. Don't allow the pressure of others to rush you and influence your mind. Time is nothing compared to true happiness. Be patient. Don't lose yourself for the sake of others. Accept rejection.
Life is a journey, and only you know where you're going. You will meet people in this journey, you will lose people, some will give you directions and others will walk with you for a while. But one thing you will always have is- yourself. Don't lose that! Everybody's journey is different, even when they seem similar, following anybody in this journey will lead you to nothing. Same routes, same exits but different destinations. Focus on yours. Live your truth.
Don't hold the ice.
Don't lose yourself.
I want to say a special thanks to Du and Marcio for giving me their perspectives and opinions for this particular article. My ideas couldn't be elaborated without you. I appreciate you guys!