Let’s talk | Pressure & Society

Living in a society is great. It gives us stability and provides us with values and norms. But with norms comes a certain pressure, the pressure to conform to the system and stick to the morals and ideas we grow up with. Who has felt pressured by society? I am sure I would see all hands going up. Including mine. I like to use my blog as a forum for discussions, especially these including current topics – current topics of society. And over the last few weeks I have read many posts from people feeling pressured especially regarding huge life choices or who feel unaccepted by those around them. That’s why I decided to address this topic on my blog today, so here is my two cents.

As a person who has done a fair amount of things others would consider unusual I know this pressure very well. It started with my decision to go abroad for half a year and I still remember how many nights I spent (over)thinking whether I should go through with it or not.I would lie in the dark hearing all those doubtful voices criticising my thought-out plan. Was I too young to leave the country for such a long period of time? Would I miss out on learning essential content at school? Should I rather go for 3 months instead of 6? Despite being an over-thinker I was also a stubborn young girl who knew exactly what she wanted to do and in the end I followed my gut and ended up going to school in lovely Devon for half a year and these months were undoubtedly amongst the best of my life. And as 15-year-olds are easily influenced this time also had a massive impact on my life, turning me into a more confident person with a huge passion for travelling and all things British. Looking back I realise that this adventure also sparked my interest in writing and I can’t say that I would still be blogging if I hadn’t dared to do this step 5 years ago. Or maybe I would have still become a ‘blogger’ and life would have found another way.
It is obvious why I’m using this example. My decision to study abroad for a while did not necessarily break the values of society but certainly went against the norm and never have I regretted this decision. Not even for a second although these six months weren’t free of obstacles. But this isn’t a post about Devon, this is a post about how we feel pressured by society. After I finished school I experienced even more pressure with people constantly asking what I wanted to do telling me I should not waste too much time and everyone seemed to give me different advice. That advice ranged from going to uni immediately, not going to South Africa as it could be dangerous to taking all the time I needed to figure out what to do. In the end some of these opinion were helpful, most of them weren’t. But luckily this situation taught me some life lessons I will never forget. The most simple advice would be not to ask for advice. Unless it is a person that you think you can confide in and that might be able to help you. If you plan on let’s say going to South Africa it is a fantastic idea to talk to people who spent some time there themselves but discussing this topic in detail with all of your 30 classmates will leave you feeling confusing and it’s unlikely to contribute valuable arguments.

This leads me to another point – if you have people putting an immense amount of pressure on you try to talk to them about your feelings or if that doesn’t help, stay away from them. True friends will support you no matter what you decide and no matter if they agree with your decision or not. Don’t confuse pressure with concern though, sometimes your closest friends will know what truly makes you fulfilled while you are stuck between decisions. The reason is simple – while making difficult decisions our emotions play tricks on us and it gets hard to look at obvious facts. But in the end if we manage to feel past the emotions holding us back, past the layers of fear and insecurity we know what is right for us, we can feel it in our gut. Shouldn’t our own values be more important than those of society? Looking back a few years later would you rather say ‘I followed my fear and the norms set by society’ or ‘I looked past my insecurities and followed my dreams’. I don’t think I need to answer that. When we are basing our decisions on the values of society we are basing them on a changing concept, a flawed concept with questionable values. Some values of society are amazing and we have to acknowledge that we have come a long way already but I think we can agree on the fact that we have still a long way to go as well. If we all conformed to the values of society the result would be stagnation. This can be found in novels like ‘Brave New World’ where people are controlled by the state and are kept satisfied. All chances of progress are eliminated in order to maintain a stable society. Great thinkers and philosophers share this opinion and say that the highest stage of moral development can only be reached by basing our decisions on universal ethical values and thus by thinking outside the frame set by society. (I am basing that on Kohlberg.)

So if we follow that principle, alternatives are slowly becoming normal and we are helping our society progress. So in the end we can help society and be part of the change. We need people like that. People who want to try something else, who want to invent, who want to make the world a better place, people who shape new norms. If you want to do something different do it – this is how art is created. This was how Humans of New York was created. This is how ‘The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared’ was written when Jonas Jonasson decided to quit his office job. So if you’re one of these people, who are feeling pressured by society, remember one thing: in the end this pressure can only affect you if you allow it to affect you. And yes, I know how hard it is to free yourself from these boundaries, to follow your own values and to swim against the stream. But I believe it is worth trying. It is worth fighting for dreams. Just like it is okay to take your time to figure out what these dreams are. It took me a while. And this time might have been difficult, but it made me stronger and more passionate and it has taught me a lot. Possibly more than the easy way of going straight to uni would have taught me.

So just to get back to the topic of university as this seems to be a huge source of pressure for many people. It is okay if you need time to figure out what makes you fulfilled, what you are passionate about. Time is never wasted if you do something, whatever that is. Everything shapes us and sometimes life has weird ways of showing is which direction is right for us. And the other funny thing about pressure is that a few years later you will always look back and you will realise how irrelevant some of your worries were and how listening to your gut would have made things easier. I think this might be the thing a lot of us lack, including myself – trust. Not in others, but in ourselves and our decisions. It might be just about time to stop listening to others and to start hearing your own voice that is just as valuable as everyone else’s but that should be the most valuable to yourself. I will end this post with a quote that I really like: “There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.”(Buddha) With passion comes fears. Fear to break the norms, fear to be judged. It is time fo free ourselves from what is holding us back, little by little, day by day.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. In which situation did you feel pressured by society? How did you deal with it? x

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  • You write very good, love this post!

    My new post is up on the blog, so please check it out http://missbabybluelove.blogspot.rs/2016/04/pink-dress.html

  • Thank you! x

  • This is a very inspiring post and there is so much passion in it. I feel like there is a lot of pressure on people in their 20s today to "have it together", as in, know what they want to do and be successful so young. I feel like society is changing from when our parents were kids.

    http://www.mintnotion.com

  • Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! I agree, there is a lot of pressure concerning that and I think the result is that people become better at pretending they 'have it together' despite most people really don't. xx

  • Such a great post! Love the way you write and really agree with everything you said. It's important to choose what you love and sometimes it's very difficult because of all the people that influence your opinion. Enjoy your Sunday, Isabella x http://isafashionebella.blogspot.com

  • Thank you, that means a lot! Definitely, there will always be obstacles. Thank you, you too! xx

  • nice post! this is very inspiring
    have a great day
    xx,
    http://evelyn-halim.blogspot.com/

  • Thank you! xx

  • This is amazing Mira.

    Love, Fads

  • Thank you! xx

  • Incredible post! I also chose to study abroad and it's definitely stressing enough, without adding all the pressure to have your s**t together.

    xo
    http://www.carinavardie.com

  • Such a beautiful and inspirational post, Mira. You are a very brave and strong woman and I really admire that about you. It is not easy to go against the society and to free yourself, I know that. I have felt pressured many times by society and it is the worst feeling in the whole world. I somehow managed to stay strong but there were moments when I felt like I should just give up and go with the flow. So, glad that I didn't 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • Wow! it's really nice post <333 Have a nice day my dear 🙂
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  • a fascinating, passionate post that i can only imagine how helpful it will be to someone in that sort of spot. i know i caved to pressure for what others wanted me to do and what would make them happy. now i do what i want!

  • Wow, what a coincidence, I was thinking about exactly the same topic throughout the weekend!
    I think there is so much wrong in out society, but whenever people come together, any system developed won't be perfect. When dealing with the pressure of society, we don't exactly deal with whether what we are doing is right or wrong, we are more dealing with the fear of not being acceppted. I think this is restricting in so many ways, because the asepcts that don't blend in on the first sight actually make it interesting. Kind of like a soup with or without salt.
    Thank you Mira, for the mindful post!
    xx

    WONDERWALLFLOWER

  • Thank you! My thoughts exactly, we don't need the stress plus the pressure. xx

  • Thank you very much, Leta, that means a lot! You're absolutely right, freeing yourself often means avoiding the road and taking a small and steep way through the mountains instead. I'm really glad you did, that takes a lot of strength! xx

  • Thank you, Ania! <333

  • Thank you very much, this means a lot to me! I'm glad you are saying that, keep doing what you're doing! 😉 xx

  • Wow, that's really crazy! And you worded that better than I could have ever done – no system is ever perfect and we need stop restricting ourselves to thinking within the boundaries of society. And I really like the example of the soup, that fits perfectly! You're welcome, thank you for taking the time to read it! xx

  • Great post, There are so many pressures today in modern society, Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  • Thank you! xx

  • Girl, I seriosly feel you! I lived in 4 countries past 8 years, I moved from my family in very young age and later even left country for forever. To be honest it changed my life! Loved to read your article

    http://www.queenhorsfall.com/

  • Wow that's amazing, finally someone who understands! I could definitely picture myself doing the same thing. I'm glad you liked it. 🙂 xx

  • Such an inspirational post Mira, I find that their is a lot of pressure put on 16-18 year olds by society when deciding if they should go to university. I found that in my last year of secondary school we was constantly getting asked if the options we took for sixth form or college would get us into university or a career. It's great that you didn't let the pressure of society stop you from doing what you wanted to and it was inspiring to read about. :)x

    http://my-world-heather.blogspot.co.uk

  • Thank you, Heather! I completely agree with you, this is always a time that is connected to a lot of pressure. And I think people need to work on changing they school system to lower that pressure, maybe by introducing alternatives. I'm glad you liked it. 😉 xx

  • Kay

    This is such an interesting post, hun! I agree with what you said about there being a lot of pressure in society, especially on younger people, but I've honestly never let it bother me. People will judge and there isn't much you can do about it, but like you said, it's important to just follow your heart and listen to your gut, same way you did when you decided to study abroad at such a young age – it ended up being a really good decision for you, it seems! x I've had people judge me all my life, since I've always been a little 'unusual' (socially awkward, mega shy, scared of everything, never goes out, no friends), but I NEVER let it get to me. Because in the end, who cares? Live and let live is what I always say, in the end, what you decide to do with your life is nobody else's business. x

    Kay
    http://www.shoesandglitter.com/

  • Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! You're absolutely right by saying that, people are gonna judge you no matter what so why not live the life you truly want to live. I'm glad you put 'unusual' in quotation marks because things like normal or not normal really don't exist, these are concepts made up by society. It makes me really happy to hear that you didn't let it get to you, I admire your strength because I'm only reaching that point now. xx

  • This is so, so important. I feel like about 30% of what I do is from pressure and not really the good pressure. I'm really trying to work on not being so caring about what other people think because when I see someone that genuinely does not care, it's kind of amazing!

    The Adored Life

  • I'm really glad you brought that up because a certain amount of pressure is good but not the kind of pressure a judging society brings with it. I agree, I always admire that! xx

  • I am obsessed with this! So good.

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  • Thank you so much, that made me smile! 🙂

  • I am seriously sick of the pressures! We got to do what we got to do, I wouldn't have even started my blog if I dint fight it!!
    http://www.thestyletune.com/

  • Same here and that's exactly the serious we shouldn't let it get to us! xx

  • You're so intelligent, you write beautifully, and your posts always interest me! I'm happy for you that you decided to go travelling and didn't let the fears win! You're so brave and I aspire to be like you! I let my worries win all the time. I let the pressures of society beat me, which I know I shouldn't, I should be my own person, I have a voice, I should put myself forward and be who I want to be without societies restrictions!
    Becky Shannon xx – Life-by-Becky

  • Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me and I'm happy to hear that! I'm trying to break free from the pressure but I haven't always managed to do that and I know how hard it is. Exactly, that's what we're all aiming for. Looking at your blog I'm thinking that you might be closer to that goal than you think. 😉 xx

  • Nothing to say but only wow for this post. This is really worth-reading. People shouldn't be pressured by society especially that it's their lives they're taking a risk with. In the end of the day, the only person that would care about is yourself. We should make worthwhile decisions not basing on what society will think of us but worthwhile decisions which will make us happy and satisfied in the long run. 🙂

    Augustin Ra | Indie Spirit

  • I feel sick about their thought of physical appeareance, and also wealth, those two are so dissapointing 🙁
    By the way, nice post Mira. I also feel so sick to be pressured by the society.

    xoxo,

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  • Thank you, I feel the same way – the only thing we can do is surround ourselves with those who don't pressure us and acknowledge that society is flawed and work towards a better one together. I agree, these two are the most disappointing. xx

  • Thank you very much, I'm really happy that you liked it! Exactly, very well said! When making decisions society should not be a factor, the only goal should be our own happiness. xx

  • This is such a fantastic post, so well written!! In my case, I currently study sports science and health, but I started out with Molecular Biology – because I always got good grades in school, so I had to study something "smart" – but it wasn't pressure in a way that people told me to study molecular biology, it was that I couldn't see other options – I only saw the "smart" options. It wasn't until I (due to an IT error) for a couple of hours thought I didn't get in to Molecular Biology, I realized what I wanted to do in my heart xx

  • Such a great post Mira! What great experiences in life you've had! Unfortunately my years from 15-17 were mainly just all shaped from society. I always had dreams of going abroad. I never knew at such a young age what I wanted to do. My choices were to go to college or full time work. I went into full time work, hated every minute and ended up leaving after a few months. Why should a child be put under so much pressure of deciding at that moment, what they want to do with their life? When I did finally go back to the working abroad idea at the age of around 18 my over thinking put me off and help me back. Then came Terry and it's just not something that's possible anymore. Not because he's holding me back, but because I wouldn't leave him. He knows one day I wanna move abroad and he's slowly getting his head around that idea so that's good enough for me 🙂 I'm actually at a good place in my life at the moment with regards to work, so for now I'm staying put. Who knows what the future holds 🙂
    Love Hannah xx
    http://www.HannahHawes.com

  • Held me back**

  • Thank you, Anne! I know exactly what you mean, that's what got me thinking about studying Medicine etc. And that's amazing and a perfect example of how a bad thing can turn out to be good after all. 😉 xx

  • Thank you, Hannah! Going abroad was definitely an amazing experience and when I came back I was very vulnerable to the judgement of society but luckily I eventually realised I needed to break free. Don't worry about missing the chance to go abroad, there will always be a second chance and maybe you could move abroad for a year or two and if you wanted to stay for good you could still do that. I believe that everything is good for something and it's never to late to make a dream happen. 🙂 xx

  • j'Adore!
    Kiss, Marie
    http://www.luxetoutou.com

  • Merci! xx

  • I love, love, love posts like this and wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts. Can I also just say it was so courageous and brave of you to study abroad at 15, I admire that so much, especially as I am eagerly looking forward to studying abroad soon! This: "in the end this pressure can only affect you if you allow it to affect you" is so, so true. At the end of the day, it's important to do what feels right by us!

    Raashi
    raashiagarwal.blogspot.com.au