Thursday, September 8, 2011

advice, not instructions

Once upon a time (or, August 23) I wrote a post about all the pressure.

Those creepy stares your cat gives you.
(Okay,  not that last one.)

I think was freaking out about it all. I was finally back to Real Life, where I felt like I had to be a Grown Ass Woman because I was graduating from college. I felt like I had something I had to prove to other people. I felt overwhelmed.

Notice that I'm using the words 'I felt'?

I'm not going to deny that my parents expect a lot from me. My family does. A lot of people do. That's all true. But I was feeling that way because I was allowing myself to feel that way. I was allowing those feelings to get to me. At the end of the day, I was putting the pressure on myself.

People will try to make us feel a hundred different ways. Some people are trying to make you feel happy, or comfortable, or secure -- I'd like to think I'm one of those people. Others want you to feel frustrated, or scared, or belittled. Those people, both groups, will always be there trying to influence you. What's important is whether or not we let them.

See, for the most part, I think we get to choose how we feel. It's more than just choosing how we view a situation, though that's important -- it's about choosing whether or not the pressure everyone else exerts on us will bother us. We can let it bother us, let it get to us until it's all we can think about and we freeze (like I did), or we can choose to acknowledge that those pressures exist but realize that the most important pressure we experience is the pressure we put on ourselves.

I shrugged a lot of the pressure off. I told myself it wasn't worth the headaches and the insomnia and the backaches and the wanting to tear my hair out. I remembered that what they want for me is not necessarily what I want for me, nor is it necessarily the best for me. I'm putting pressure on myself to get good grades this last semester and apply for jobs in a timely manner, but I'm not putting more pressure than I can handle.

The key I've discovered is to do what I feel is right and only listen to others for advice, not instructions.

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