I’ve always grew up being the kid who was good at everything. I always was praised for being the kind, helpful, smart little kid. Though these adjectives would occasionally boost my ego, they also had consequences. Once I had started to truly listen to these high praises, their words established an effect on me. I began believing that if I wasn’t always the perfect child at everything, I wouldn’t be loved anymore. I thought that I needed to always be the best, and while a hardworking mindset can be great, it hurt my self-esteem.
For example, in my last year of elementary school, one of the students were to be given an award for having the best grades, and all the students would vote for that person. I had worked extra hard to become the very best, like no one ever was. When it came time for the ceremony, they called out my best friend’s name, and she received the award. I was so furious at myself that I didn’t even congratulate her on wining.
Now looking back, I can realize that I was jealous of all the attention she got. I craved to be in the spotlight because I thought that was the only way anyone would still like me. During all those years, my family and friends can attest that my anger and stress were exceeding levels that were quite unsafe. I was rude and snappy to everyone around me due to being too stressed out. I just wanted to be myself, but I always thought that being myself wasn’t enough.
During middle school, as more opportunities arose, I began to try and make up for those years. I began to seek out who I really was. I felt good to be doing what I wanted and being the person I chose to be. It helped me realize that I don’t always need to be the best to be happy and fulfilled. I began to participate in sports and theater, which brought me immense joy. It doesn’t always have to be physical activities that fulfill you though, it can be anything your heart desires.
So, the moral of the story is that you don’t always need to fit everyone’s expectations. Just be yourself, and you can find the right way for yourself to go.
Do you feel like you need to be a certain way because others expect it of you? Do you put pressure on yourself to act this way as a result?