Yesterday during my therapy session the focus was on the pressure I have felt and placed on myself since I was a kid. This made me think about how many readers of this site and blog may feel pressure as well. Maybe they feel pressure to pay the rent on time so they are not evicted, work multiple jobs to provide for their family, or countless other things.
As we have talked about, most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and some studies show 80% live check to check. About 45% of the population has credit card debt, and the average balance is over $16,000. Many others (40 million +) live in poverty. While some of this is self-induced (living above means, etc.) all of these financial conditions are bound to create pressure for those households.
Pressure is not just financial in nature either. I have always felt pressure my entire life. Some of it was/is self-imposed, but many other times I felt pressure from others. For example, when my dad left I was under pressure to help raise my little sister. I was under pressure to help my mom run the household, help ensure we could keep a roof over our head, and pressure to be the “good kid”. And there was much more pressure on other life events when growing up. I was a 12 year old kid – teenager who had adult responsibilities.
We focused on this yesterday during therapy, and the fact I never really had a childhood. The session, and EMDR technique used by my therapist, brought me to tears yet again. Funny/powerful how when you talk about something, with the right person, it can bring out your vulnerabilities.
Then, as an adult, I pressured myself to be successful. I put pressure on myself to be perfect (even though that is impossible) and not to make mistakes, and when I do make them (which everyone does as no one in is perfect), I am extremely hard on myself.
I put pressure on myself how I invest in stocks, or start a business, and other things I did as an adult. I put pressure on myself to be the best as what I do, whether around websites/SEO, running half-marathons, or whatever I commit myself too. This pressure lead to, among other things, anxiety and a panic attack. I am still battling these issues from my past and currently, and trying to recognize them and fix it.
But I am not the only person who faces pressure. There are millions of single moms out there, a large percentage which are in poverty. I bet many of them put tremendous pressure on themselves to provide for their family, to pay the bills, try to help their kids have a better life. Others in all phases of life (the father trying to provide for their family, the unmarried adult, etc.) also face pressure too for any number of live events.
There are bound to be many kids from those single parent households (as well as many others) who also put pressure on themselves like I did. Maybe they want to excel at school. Or help their parents (or single mom) provide. Maybe they feel the “societal pressure” to look “perfect” and keep up with “everyone” image (most of which are fake) on social networks. I can’t imagine the pressure that kids face today, and sadly I see constant stories about teens taking their own life, as increasing suicide stats show.
Pressure is a double edged sword. Of course you want to feel and have a little some to light the fire under you. To motivate you or your kids to work hard, achieve a better life, etc. But too much pressure can be devastating…anxiety, stress, etc. And too much pressure on kids to be adults really screws with them and usually causes problems/catches up with them as they age.
Anyhow, pressure is so common in society these days. Even as I try to live a simple life (which I work to do every day), I still need to pro-actively try to battle the pressure and fight back the tendency to put pressure on myself. It is a constant battle…one of which I sometimes “lose”.