Societal pressure is a sneaky bitch, and unfortunately we can’t just throw a party without her, or make out with her boyfriend as revenge. (Come on – there’s never a wrong time for a Mean Girls reference.) While those aforementioned reactions are obviously illogical, sometimes ours aren’t really much better.
We get so caught up in things such as how we’re ‘meant’ to feel in a relationship, or where we’re ‘expected’ to be in our career. We drive ourselves crazy overthinking about what’s potentially missing, and whether or not we’ve accidentally hopped on the wrong path. We end up exhausting ourselves by overanalyzing particular aspects of our life – even positive ones – and convincing ourselves that we could put our energy elsewhere, or that we decided on something for the wrong reasons.
Here is why your fixation on what it’s ‘supposed to be like’ is just setting yourself up for disappointment:
1. You’re chasing away any chance you have at real happiness.
Many people (myself included) have said that being in a good place scares them, because they feel that something will inevitably go wrong any minute. To be fair, life does really find a lovely way of dropping you on your ass right when you finally think that things are going smoothly. However, you can’t live your life in constant fear that everything is going to turn to shit.
Don’t search for problems in your relationship just because you’re starting to think that things are ‘suspiciously too perfect.’ Don’t let minor inconveniences become huge hurdles at your job (which you love, by the way.) Keeping your expectations low doesn’t translate to sabotaging your own happiness.
It’s okay to refrain from getting too comfortable – but don’t catch yourself actively seeking discomfort.
2. We all know that constantly comparing yourself to others is bad – but comparing yourself to ‘past you’ could be worse.
You might be in a pretty amazing relationship – but can’t help thinking back to the way you felt with someone else. It wasn’t meant to be with that person from your past, and you acknowledge that. You don’t even necessarily want them back – but the memories still linger.
Remind yourself that you were a different person back then. It may have significance to you because it was the first time you really felt ‘in love’, or were really serious with someone. You might even think of them as ‘the one that got away’, no matter how cliché you know it is.
Don’t forget that you’re allowed to grow and evolve. It’s okay to be reminiscent of something from your past, but don’t confuse fond memories with the desire to rekindle an old flame. Just because something made you happy then doesn’t mean it necessarily will now.
3. If societal pressure is a sneaky bitch, social media is her super sidekick. #StopScrolling
Social media not only presents a skewed view of everyone’s life, but it causes us to rethink our own. Vacation pictures make us wish we had more time (or funds) to travel. Engagement photos make us wonder if we’re falling behind, because we’re definitely not there yet. You get the idea.
Those pangs of jealousy aren’t going to subside until we stop obsessing. Social networks are a way to keep connected (and humbly brag, of course) – but don’t let them become a platform for self-loathing.
Plus, once you associate your validation with what your Facebook friends think about you, it’s a slippery slope from there. For instance, your confidence boost from the amount of ‘likes’ on a selfie you posted will soon be distressing, as you obsess over not getting nearly the same amount on the next one.
So recognize when your mindless scrolling becomes overly attentive lurking – and don’t treat a social post as a ‘sign’ that you don’t have your life perfectly together. Let’s be honest – none of us really do, anyway.