Societal pressures are something that can be counted on to always be around. The pressure to be a certain size, pressure to have the right job, pressure to be in a relationship, to have kids. These pressures are put on us by the media around us and by traditions passed down through generations.
Just as these pressures are passed down there are people in each generation who break this cycle. People who question the status quo. These people push us into the future, into facing down why we have these pressures and choosing to move past them. We seem to face down the same pressures of previous generations as well as facing new ones. These pressures are things that we must face on our own. We must decide where we stand on these issues, but also be open to hearing out other views. It does not show weakness to question what we have been brought up to believe, but shows strength to question and come out the other side with either an affirmation of these beliefs or a stronger belief in something new.
When I was younger I had certain goals/beliefs that I wanted to reach by the time I was 30 (to have a good job, to be married, to be thinking about having children, etc.). Now 2 years till that year some my goals have changed and some have stayed the same (to have a good job, maybe be in a relationship, to have seen more of the world than I have now, etc.). These changes have come about by pushing my boundaries and questioning what I want from my life. What are my goals and what mark do I want to leave behind? Most importantly, what makes me happy?
Growing up my opinion of myself, what I looked like and what I felt I deserved out of life, like most girls growing up was low. I wasn’t the size society deemed “beautiful” and that seemed to me to mean that I wasn’t beautiful, that I wasn’t worthy of being loved by someone else. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of people that questioned the rules of society or the status quo, so I didn’t know to question it either. When I went to undergrad I was surrounded by people with different upbringings, different experiences, different viewpoints. I was blessed to meet a couple people that seemed to me to shine with an inner light. They were happy every time I saw them and they didn’t seem to be influenced by societal beliefs. I wanted that. I did not understand how they could be so confident and so pure in their joy of life. It was infectious and forced me to face my own opinion of myself, to make changes, to accept and love who I am today. It helped that spent a year at the Texas State Aquarium as a diver basically spending a year underwater. It gave me a lot of time to think about myself, my goals, and what I want. It also forced me to look at who I am and love that person for who I am today, who I was in the past, and for the potential I see in myself for the future.
That was the biggest lesson I have forced myself to learn, self love. We must love ourselves before we can love others, to let go of the pressures that we must be in a relationship with someone to prove that we have love. Some people need another person to feel complete or whole, others settle for a relationship that tells them what they want to hear, and others take time to know themselves first before entering into a relationship with someone else. No way is better than another, but we must make time to love ourselves, to know our inner self. We must speak for ourselves and love in a way that enhances who we are.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Steven Chbosky, The Perks Of Being a Wallflower
I am still facing down these pressures and coming to terms with the fact that we all are worthy of having someone to love who will love us back for who we are. But that is a truth we must believe. A truth we need to hold in our hearts. No matter what pressures come at us from the world around us we must remember to get to know someone before we judge them, to be open to new ideas, and that we are all worthy of love no matter what we look like on the outside.
“You are a unique collection of cells and energy that will never again be recreated on this planet earth. In that way alone, you are worthy.” –Jacob Geers, You Deserve To Love Yourself
“You are worthy of love and respect. You are Beautiful, Gifted, & Intelligent. Don’t let the storm make you forget that.” – Thema Davis