The Pressure to Be Another
We live in a world today with so much pressure: there’s pressure from home, school, church, work, friends, etc. Everybody wants you to become a certain person or attain a certain height. The pressure to become someone else is breaking down most people. As the majority of these expectations and projections are really not things you personally would want to be, but because you can’t stand the pressure you conform eventually. This has left our world full of duplicates and wannabees, who try to be everyone else except themselves.
Young people are chasing dreams, grinding, making a difference and becoming better than those around them. This is not to say all of these things are bad, but really what’s the motivation behind all of this? Are you trying to prove a point, trying to be relevant or trying to carve out a path of fame for yourself? Often times we do these things because that’s the lingo of our times. Millenials are touted to be concerned about making a difference, changing society, transforming nations and all the great things you can think about.
As great as this is, we tend to see a lot more comparisons, depressions, suicidal thoughts etc. Because young people are chasing dreams, most of them don’t even have a clue what this dream is, but they figure they must chase something, so they do. You see students at every single event, taking extra classes, stressing themselves, impressing people they don’t like, just because there’s this dream that has been sold to them. Young people tagging themselves entrepreneurs, carrying titles and yet having no substance at all of character or proper influence. Lots of these people jump onto a certain wagon thinking there are problems to be solved, but eventually end up seeking attention and dying when the attention blows off.
I remember always saying I wanted expanded hips so my trousers would be fuller when I wore them, this is in spite of the many compliments about my shape and size that I received from numerous people. Until I had the experience of teaching a young lady a dance and she being unable to jump freely like I did, did it hit me. She had quite a sizeable amount behind her, and she was unable to jump and add the flexibility that so easily came to me. Which meant if I sought to become like her, I’d end up unable to jump and dance and run around freely like I do now. Which would have left me more sorrowful than having small hips is currently doing.
This example may be funny, but juxtapose it against many of the experiences of other young people and you’d see people going into careers, marrying, traveling, starting businesses just because they think it’d give them a better stand in society. So besotted are they with prestige, popularity, recognition and having many followers that they lose sight of what really fulfills them. Some think they’re not useful because they can’t talk walk and influence like some other person they hallow in their minds. You’ll see students flock to learning a particular program because it has prestige attached to it or the salary is really good. What people often forget is that:
Stephen Hawking died recently, he remained a physicist till he died. I believe it’s because he enjoyed what he did as a physicist, which paved way for him to author books. The reputation, fame, and recognition only came as additions. If he had pursued these add-ons instead of following his dream for exploring his curiosity about how things worked, he probably never would have attained the pedestal he got to.
Young people, the most important things today aren’t the things you’re running after. It’s not the famous or cool things. Neither is it the things that necessarily bring in the money. What most of us don’t know is that half of the time, those who are our role models don’t always sell you the entire hustle. At times they just encourage you to keep going, but quite a number forget that we all have different tendencies, personalities, backgrounds, and upbringing. And that not everyone can be like them. Because you’re not told this, you stick out your neck and hassle yourself to try to be like someone you may never be able to become.
Focus on discovering you, notice your strong points, identify the things that bring you joy unending. You don’t have to appear on TV, be interviewed on radio or be recognized in the US (as an African) before you know you’re making an impact. The guy who preached and led Billy Graham to Christ has made lots of impact on people. By being in the right place to reach the right person. Don’t be too impressed by what others are doing, learn from them what you can, but never use them as your yardstick. Before you can compare yourself to someone, you’d have to be operating from the same grounds they’re on. You’d have to have their experiences, exposure and same upbringing. Fortunately, that isn’t possible, so you have the freedom to be the best you there is to be.
In conclusion, learn to make the difference between a good thing and the right thing. Because that’s the only way you can be the person you were created to be. Not every good thing is yours to do, but every right thing is what you were made to do. This would call for a lot of intentionality and purposefulness in choosing what you eat (physically, spiritually, socially & emotionally), where you go and what things you pay attention to. Set your goals with an understanding of who you are, what you were created for and where you’re going. That’s the key to lasting joy. Stick with the “why” of the things you do, instead of the “who” you do it for or with. There’s no other person to compete with other than yourself. At the end of the day, it’s not the brightest, smartest or prettiest who end up content. Rather those who knew and believed in themselves.
Don’t be pressured by anyone, don’t compete with anyone. Just focus on being the best you in your relationships, studies, problem-solving, business, etc and you’d watch things turn around. Know what you’re the best at, and channel your energy into it to make it greater.
Categorise your answers into:
- The things you have to do (non-negotiable)
- Those things you should do (ideal but occasionally skipped)
- Then the things you want to do (enjoy doing and helps)
- Things you don’t need to do (done out of guilt or to look good)
Cut out all the fours, limit the threes(because you can’t do all things in this one season of life). Pay attention to the twos and ones. This resource and guide was taken from Walk It Out – Creating White Space by Tricia Goyer
Check out these tracks by Jonathan McReynolds, they address this issue with lyrics and melody, I do hope they speak to you and help you refocus.
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