Being stressed and overwhelmed seems almost an accepted normality at the moment. Like its just part of modern life to be exhausted and overextended.
I don’t think that it is just part of normal modern western society, we do not need to go live on a desert island and withdraw from modern life to feel at ease. It’s about stepping back from the expectations set out by others. It sounds so simple but it isn’t easy.
Never feeling enough
In my coaching work, I have had so many conversations with women saying:
"Relaxing feels impossible".
"I feel like I am barely coping".
"Nothing ever gets my full attention".
"I’m so inadequate".
One woman, I spoke to during my recent research described trying to hold back a tsunami of people and their expectations. The effect of living this way is often more than just being tired. It affects mental and physical health and it sucks all the joy and ease of life. It encourages low self-esteem and eradicates self-love. We feel less, not enough and inadequate. When we feel this way like there are expectations we just cannot meet. When we believe we should be doing something and we are not we start to think it's our fault. We turn the blame inward.l We think we are lacking or inadequate. We question ourselves rather than the standards that are being set out for us.
Demands and expectations
If you think about it we get a lot of messages about what is expected of us. What to wear, how to behave, how our bodies should look, how to raise our children, how to treat our partners. How should we act at work, what our priorities should be? these opinions, ideas and attitudes all affect our experience as a woman. they shape our ideals, expectations and values.
In a single day, we can read magazines telling us how to drop a few pounds before Summer but also, how to make that amazing family dinner everyone will love. later on this same day, we will see articles on our social media advising us how to organise our day and 10 ten mistakes we are making that stop us being productive. Keep scrolling and you'll find a post about how you need to make more time for yourself. Let's not forget well-meaning family or friends advising us how we should deal with our children, or be surprised at the amount of childcare we use.
There are so many rules, so much advice and instruction, on what other people and society as a whole think about what we should and shouldn't be doing. It is hard not to feel the pressure
to conform and the guilt at not measuring up but at the same time, so much of this advice contradicts. It’s literally impossible to be everything to everyone. How on earth do you be the most amazing employee with a dazzling career, the most supportive and loving parent and partner? All the while, give yourself and your family and friends the time they all need, while being organised, thin and photoshop pretty but also healthy and also grounded, centred and calm while doing it all? Is your head spinning yet?
It is impossible, unrealistic and even unkind to try to be something you are not. Afterall, these standards are not our own. they are not the rules or goals we set out for ourselves. It seems so wrong to try to fit into a box that someone else created for us. Trying to tick boxes, standards for success our passing and failing as a woman. We as individuals and re diverse and unique. one size does not fit all.
We need to ditch the rules and expectations, literally. I know what I want for myself and my life. Society sometimes clouds that judgement. Advertising tells me I want that product or to look like that girl in the ad but in reality, I don’t. All I want is to be loved and accepted. That starts by loving me myself and accepting who I am.
Creating our own rules
It is hard to stand out and carve our own standards. We want to fit in and be accepted by others. We want to feel happy, secure and loved. The people we admire tend to be the ones who create their own path and live it with confidence. The more I learn about life, the more I realise the way to become one of those people comes from within me more than it does from anything or anyone external.
So if we are ditching the expectations set out for us that leave us in the very scary place of not knowing where to get our rules from. What are we expected to do, who are we and what is our place? What we need to do is get in touch with our own inner guidance, our conscience, our instinct and intuition. Whatever you want to call it. The point is you get your rule from there you measure yourself from standards you set for yourself not the magazines, your partner or colleagues. Knowing within yourself what your values are and what your boundaries are is what matters. You are not needing any validation from anyone or anything else. There is a lot less pressure when you are living up to your own standard.
Set your own standards for yourself, what is good enough to you? How you want to show up in the world, how you want to treat others. Focus on what you value Look inward for guidance, create your own values and beliefs. Try living by your own rule book rather than the one society gave you.
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