From the full force of the media to the disapproving glare of a relative with inordinate expectations, society can load pressure onto people that leaves them constantly questioning themselves.
Once you let someone else’s judgement be something that shapes you, life gets a lot more difficult. The way people perceive you suddenly becomes far more important than it ever should be. You start worrying about doing things more than you enjoy them.
Which is the opposite of the way things are supposed to be.
Things can get difficult. And sometimes it can feel like it’s hurts too much not to just give in and conform.
While there will likely be a lot of times when you struggle to believe it, there are some things that you should never have to feel sorry for.
If you are choosing to do something that expresses the way who see yourself as a person – whether that’s in your choice of clothes or body modifications or even just Facebook posts – then no one should get to tell you not to. Provided the way you express yourself isn’t through your fervent of white supremacy, or any other kind of hate speech or bigotry for that matter, no one has the right to tell you that you shouldn’t look and behave in the way that makes you feel the most comfortable being you.
SPEAKING THE TRUTH
Ignorance is bliss – people would rather believe a happy lie than have to face an unsavoury truth, no matter how important that truth is. But that is no way to live a life, certainly no way to build a world. While the occasional white lie to spare someone’s feelings can still be overlooked – your friend doesn’t need to know that you only have a shower so the bath bombs she bought you are useless – practicing honesty is every possible situation will always be the easiest and most successful way to navigate life. If someone doesn’t want to hear it, it’s their problem not yours.
HAVING AN OPINION
A lot of things happen in the world that force you to think about the general state of reality and your position in it. You form opinions and those guide you in making your decisions, from what TV shows you like watching to your personal moral code. Not everyone is going to agree with you. In fact, the nature of humanity means that a lot of people won’t. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have your opinion. Again, as long as you’re not inclined to hurt others with what you say and are generally open to debate between differing ideas – that is, after all, the only way people ever progress – no one is ever allowed to tell you not to think what you choose to think.
NOT ENJOYING SOMETHING
This links into having your own opinion, but can be distinctly different depending on circumstances. Maybe someone cares so much for their favourite TV show that they can’t bear the fact that you thought it was pretty boring. Maybe someone desperately wanted you to enjoy a rollercoaster with them, but you threw up. Maybe it’s something far more serious than those things. But no matter how much someone hopes that something will make you happy – even when that someone is you – you are under no obligation to feel anything. If something isn’t fun, at least you know now from having tried it. You don’t have to do it again and you don’t need to apologise for how you feel.
NOT GETTING OUT OF BED ALL DAY
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t going to work if you do it every day. But the fact is that we all have those days where all of the stress we’ve been outpacing catches up with us. It can be overwhelming and exhausting and, on those days, you have to let yourself rest. Spend the day cocooned in blankets, treat yourself to hot chocolate and pizza, watch all your favourite movies. Let yourself have this, you deserve it.
FOCUSING ON YOU
Relationships require a fair amount of give and take. If you expect people to be there for you, you need to offer them the same kind of respect and effort. But you don’t to do it every second of your life. There are times when you have to put yourself as a priority, to make sure that you are okay first. You can’t help anyone if you’re so burned out that you collapse. When the weight of world starts dragging you down, put it down and take care of yourself until you feel strong enough to pick it up again.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.