As I sit here and type, I begin to ponder on how the views of those around us shape our perception of the world and our place within it. How often do your family and friends provide you with their opinions of what you should do and how you should do it? When I encounter situations such as these, it begins a discourse in my mind…how am I really perceived among my family and friends?
As a Twenty-Seven year old woman I begin to examine the decisions I’ve made that have led me to where I am today. My birthday is in less than two months, which prompts me to evaluate the year thus far and decide on how I want the next year of life to pan out. I can’t help but include in my discourse my singleness. Most twenty somethings are currently feeling some sort of pressure from various family members – especially if you are of Nigerian descent. Here are a few of the classic statements, that I often hear: “at your age I was married..” “I want grandchildren…” “Maybe you’re being too picky…” I personally think that statements of this kind are rather insensitive. Imagine if the person on the receiving end was emotionally unstable, such comments can negatively affect a person’s emotional wellbeing. I don’t know about you but I tend to respond by rolling my eyes and internally thinking to myself “what do you want me to do? Just marry anyone so that I can upgrade my status from single to MARRIED?” (No thank you, marriage is one of the most important decisions that we can make in life! It is more than just a wedding it is a life time commitment.)
Regardless of being single, I am blessed to have a successful career, many opportunities to live life and a solid foundation of friends and family. When you begin to count your many blessings, life doesn’t seem to be that bad. However when you allow the fear of other people’s perceptions to enter into your internal discourse, it inevitably leads to feelings of inadequacy. No one likes to admit that they may be fearful of the unknown future, and at this point in my life I find part of the discourse in my mind to go as follows:
Should I start dating again? –
I don’t particularly enjoy dating. Yes, No, Maybe…
Where do I want to buy a house and settle down? – Only God knows to be honest
Maybe I should move to another country whilst I’m young, free and single. – Just do it!
But what about work?
What if I don’t meet the love of my life before I turn 30? – Well I’ll definitely up and move if that happens lol perhaps Iceland
JOKEActually I’m not joking lol
I want to have children soon but where is Mr Right? – Well no husband no baby…So what now?
One thing I am sure about is that I refuse to settle within any area of my life. So why does the fleeting feeling of inadequacy rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient times?- when you think you finally have it all together, life shows up! I would like to believe that I am mentally strong nonetheless I am susceptible to feeling overwhelmed with the discreet pressures of life.
I’m currently reading “The Defining Decade 20 – Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now.” Within the chapter named “My life should look better on Facebook” I came across this…
“Shoulds can masquerade as high standards or loft goals, but they are not the same. Goals direct us from the inside, but shoulds are paralyzing judgments from the outside. Goals feel like authentic dreams while shoulds feel like oppressive obligations. Shoulds set up a false dichotomy between either meeting an ideal or being a failure, between perfection or settling. The tyranny of the should even pits us against our own best interests.”
The quote above reminds us of the need to relax the demands on our lives and push the fear of perception to the back of the mind. Focus on your life goals and don’t worry about the when and the how, just strive to get there by being the best possible version of yourself. Don’t get caught up in the internal discourse of what you should be doing, in regards to your own life expectations and the expectations of those around you. It’s not to say that we should become complacent but we ought to stop being so hard on ourselves and learn to filter those paralyzing judgments that we often hear.
Wherever your faith resides focus your mind there and allow your internal discourse to be aligned with your faith and not your fear.
‘and so it was that she, having waited long and endured patiently, realised and obtained what God had promised…’ Hebrews 6:15