There are many things you shouldn't feel pressurized into doing through life, but there are things that society sometimes says you should do. No matter what, you should stay true to yourself. However, this can be easier said than done, particularly if you have family members who believe you should follow a certain path or you're made to feel that in order to be part of the group, you need to do particular things. Here are some things you shouldn't feel pressurized into doing.
1. Having Sex
I know this is a cliché but you shouldn't feel pressurized into doing it just because everyone else is. This is something that should happen when the time is right and more importantly, with the right person. Never feel as though you'll be respected or liked more for having sex. I know it sounds cheesy, but having respect for yourself is more important than anything. This is one of the most important things you shouldn't feel pressurized into doing.
2. Getting Married
This is a tricky one and can mean different things to different people. Perhaps the pressure into marriage has come about as a consequence of pregnancy or perhaps it's a case of one party giving an ultimatum. Also, different cultures have different attitudes when it comes to marriage, and arranged marriages are part and parcel of many cultures. These can lead to a lasting and happy relationship but, like any marriage, they can have devastating consequences if the match is not quite right. Getting married is a union between two people that shouldn't be taken lightly and no one should feel pressurized into getting married if they're not ready or if things aren't quite right.
3. Having Kids
So, you're married, you have a house together and naturally, as time is passing, people are asking when they will hear the pitter patter of tiny feet. You shouldn't feel pressurized into having children just because society says so or your 'biological' clock is ticking or your partner wants them so desperately. It needs to be right for both parties involved. After all, you'll both be sharing the lovely load!
4. Following a Certain Career Path
Sometimes, people feel pressurized into following a certain path. I once taught a young girl whose father had her whole future mapped out ahead of her. She was going to be a doctor and she had absolutely no say in the matter. I would look at her at parents' evening and think that this was a prime specimen for rebellion if ever I saw one, but she never rebelled; she did as her father said and became the doctor he dreamed she would be. And although she never said outright that she didn't want to do it, I always felt a pang of pity when I looked into her eyes and knew that deep down, she wanted to be a writer. Doing something you love and not something someone envisions for you is so important in life.
5. Looking a Certain Way
We're all under pressure to conform to a certain extent and this goes for both men and women. Whether it be wearing certain clothes to fit in or looking a certain age if you're slightly older, the pressure on people is immense. There is a very eccentric lady in my home town who is renowned for walking around in Victorian clothing. It's almost as though she was born in the wrong century and she is a familiar face around the town. Yes, she gets the stares but she doesn't care and holds her head up high. I think she looks amazing and I admire her ability to wear what she likes and not care what anyone else thinks. We should all follow her example and be who we want to be, because in the words of Dr Seuss, those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind!
6. Remaining in a Relationship
Sometimes people can feel pressurized into remaining in a relationship for so many reasons. Maybe it's a relationship that you know deep down in your heart has run its course. Maybe you just don't feel the same but think you won't be able to find someone else. Whatever the reason, it's better the be alone than to feel alone with another person.
7. Having Certain Beliefs
"Never discuss politics and religion." This is something someone once told me so I'm stepping into controversial territory with this one, I'm sure. However, sometimes people can feel pressurized into having certain beliefs that are not their own and this can lead to unhappiness or rebellion. Your beliefs should be a result of your own experiences and research so that you can make an informed decision, whether it's about politics or religion.
Whilst I'm not pretending to know everything about life, I do know that being happy is so important. After all, we're only here once! Have you ever felt pressurized into doing any of the above? Is there anything else you feel that people are sometimes pressurized into unfairly?