The pressure we put on ourselves
I think in many ways we are conditioned to spend an enormous amount of time, trying to please people. We have been auto-tuned to feel responsible for the likes of others and this leads to a lot of unnecessary burden. Trying to impress people, never making a mistake, always being guarded, always being in control, assuming that you need to have it together all the time.
And the sad thing is that we have easily normalized this conditioning by using terms like ‘professionalism’ or ‘being professional’.
I’m not very convinced that this ‘professionalism’ is in any way helpful.
I work with extremely creative women. Women who are business owners and creative at what they do but also women who are artists. Sometimes I see so many creatives being swept away in the rut of trying to impress their audience/customers/clients that they forget to enjoy the freedom and satisfaction their work gives them. Even as I write this article, my inner critical voice is constantly asking me, ‘you think they’ll like this? Are you even making sense? Do they even want to know about this?’ After a while it gets really irksome, intolerable and eventually there’s a strong urge to quit.
This pattern, I gather is not anyway from the outside world, but from the pressure we constantly out on ourselves. I’ve never been comfortable with perfection. But I’ve experienced the pressure first hand. I have forced myself to scrutinize my work so much that I’ve lived in constant self-doubt for the longest time. Sometimes, I still do.
As an introvert the notion of making mistake is not very easily taken. It becomes personal. It becomes really challenging to ‘get over it’. Most introverts have this fear of making a fool of themselves, saying the wrong thing, as normal as it is for an introvert to feel this way, it also steals a lot from them.
If you’re an introvert or a creative, can you think of all the ways you put pressure on yourself – socially, professionally, relationships? Pause, fetch a paper, pen and actually make your list.
The intention of this article is not to tell you that you need to work on your perfectionism or that you shouldn't care about what others think.
This is article is to remind you that -
It’s okay to slip up every once in a while.
It’s okay to trust the wrong person
It’s okay if you couldn’t make that sale
It’s okay if you’re not a crowd pleaser
It’s okay if you’re a serious person
It’s okay if you couldn’t do it on time
It’s okay if you’re not always put together
It’s okay if you don’t use an iPhone/Mac (Seriously, grow up!)
It’s okay of your messy bun is a little too messy
It’s okay of you put your feet up at a café/theatre/car (No, seriously, it’s apparently a big deal)
It’s okay if you say the wrong thing
It’s okay if you reply instantly, It’s okay if you take your time
It’s okay of SM is your thing, also it’s okay if it’s not
It’s okay if you were the one to initiate a fight (Sometimes you can’t take it)
It’s okay to drunk dial your ex or drunk text your ex (I mean, yea... it really is okay)
It’s okay of you don’t have your own business and work for someone (please highlight this!)
It’s okay if you don’t think you can work for someone and start your own thing
It’s okay to stand up for yourself
It’s okay to preserve your energy and be quiet
It’s okay if you leave your cushy job and venture into something that has your heart
It’s okay of you studied medicine and now are an extremely talent artist
It’s okay to have a hobby and not really earn from it
It’s okay if you are religious/atheist/spiritual
It’s okay to dream and still wait to go and achieve it.
I think I can keep going on and on and on. The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that the people who truly respect you and your work, don’t need to be impressed all the time (read: at all, never) The people who appreciate you have a subtle way of even critiquing your work or you.
I have been given a really hard time (somehow, I perceived it to be true as well) about parallelly using breath-work, tarot and coaching as my services. I was often made fun of reading Tarot Cards and felt confused regarding being a psychologist as well as a Tarot reader. I need to constantly remind myself that my services are not for everyone but for those who really need it.
When you constantly pay attention to how others see you (read: perceive, judge, categorize) that’s when the pressure starts building up. That’s when you start to label, compare, demotivate yourself to an unnecessary extent.
This is not only limited to work, but socially as well
Single even after 30
Not interested in Parenthood/Motherhood
Big Wedding/Small Wedding (as lame as it sounds, it is a big deal)
Being open about sex, periods, live-in (Yes, still!)
When you find yourself mostly (note – may not be all the time, but, more often) saying, “I Have to...” instead of “I want to…” that’s when you need to really pause and question yourself.