Breakfree from Stifling Expectations
By Latha Krishnan
You need to destroy the idea that there is an expectation to do things by a certain age.
You don’t have to be married with kids at 25.
It’s okay to not have your dream job by 30 or to not have graduated by 22.
There are no rules to life.
Life is neither a race, nor a competition.
- Jay Shetty
I fell in love with this quote at first sight and realised that it is the attempt of people to fulfil these stifling social expectations that is the root cause of all our problems in life. Life is a beautiful thing that nature has given us and every person should cherish it and realise our true potential in this lifetime.
First let us identify how these social expectations or societal pressure find their roots in our lives. Sadly in most places it starts from our parents and grandparents. Ever since we are born we have only seen them doing everything keeping the society in mind. It starts from day 1 of a child. In most families, if it is a boy, then he is brought up in a certain way and if it is a girl, then she is brought up with different aspects. Starting from the toys they play with to their upbringing, everything changes.
Why? Because the main focus is always that a girl needs to fit into a different family post- marriage and a Boy needs to earn well before marriage.
Reason? If we get the girl educated too much, then she would get too old or start earning so much that she might not get suitable marriageable prospects. If the boy chooses to be an artist/musician/photographer/athlete, then he might not earn well unless he is well established by which time he might get old and not get good marriageable prospects.
You can see that despite the fact that every year the newspapers proudly present that girls have outshone the boys in the board results, very few end up doing their Master’s or PhD or specialisation in their specific field in later years.
You can see that despite the fact that there are so many avenues to work towards and it is becoming difficult to find good jobs, parents are still trying to push most boys to pursue Engineering or Medicine or CA. Why can’t they be Chefs, Photographers, Architects, Environmentalist, Actuaries etc. who are very much in demand in the world.
All the above is the result of social pressure. Parents want to proudly present their kids as an accomplished individual to the world, even if their kids have potential to do so much more and excel in a different field. They are never offered the freedom to explore. As a result many such people end up pursuing their hobbies or natural talents as careers later in life after completing what their parent wanted them to do. These are just common examples.
So let us not curb the growth of natural talents in children to keep up with societal pressures. Let us learn to be deaf to questions like - has your child only got so much marks? Has your kid not landed in a good job yet? When are you going to get your girl married? Etc. We are not living in a competition, everyone is unique and special in their own way, there are no set rules to anything in life, no matter how much you plan, nature has its way of going as it pleases.
Let us instead focus on spending quality time with our loved ones, be their rock solid support, inculcate good values and morals which will be useful to them and boost their confidence wherever they go in life. It is sad to see that due to lack of these things more and more kids fall prey to depression and suicide at such a tender age. The statistics of such cases are alarming.
So let us aim to:
- Be a better version of ourselves everyday
- Identify our inborn talents and cultivate them
- Let the next generation learn from our actions rather than our words
- Build a Happy and Content Life
- Not fall prey to stifling and endless societal pressures