Stop With the Pressure on Young People

Growing up is something everyone has to do, and one of the most difficult things for a human being. Probably the most difficult challenge when growing up is not to do with growing up itself, but more to do with society’s expectations of young people. In this post I am going to write about how society’s standards and expectations are essentially pressuring young people into a life full of regret of mental health issues and unhappiness. I am only 19 years old myself, so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on this issue.

First things first, growing up and leaving school is a very challenging and confusing time for a young person. You are quite often naive, and take the opinions and expectations of others way too seriously. This is not good when mixed with the fact society itself puts immense pressure on young people to abide by a set of rules and expectations laid out by previous generations. Young people just finishing school are being told by society that they need to have their entire lives sorted out, their career planned and a romantic partner to marry. This is way too early to have any of this planned, in fact I would argue most 30 and 40 year olds don’t even have a lot of this ‘figured out’, hence why midlife crises are a thing. I also know a small handful of young people do indeed have it, quote on quote, ‘figured out’ and credit to them. The vast majority don’t however, and likely never will. We all have had our own life experiences and upbringings. We all think our own thoughts and have our own values and beliefs. One size does not fit all when it comes to how someone should live their lives. It’s disgusting how society indoctrinates young people into this way of thinking. No wonder mental health and suicide rates are up amongst the younger generations. They are being sold rules which are unattainable.

The classic example is young people fresh out of high school being persuaded to choose a career path and go to university/college straight away. As a young person, your interests are changing constantly. You are consistently discovering new things that light a fire inside you. It is ludicrous to think you have to decide on one thing to do for the rest of your life right out of the gate. You are potentially missing out on new discoveries and experiences which would shape you so much more as a person. Society tricks young people into believing university is the be all and end all, which it is not. University is a powerful tool if you do indeed know what it is you would like to do, and have a blueprint for achieving that. For most people though I would just say block out the noise and other people’s opinions, try new things and if you do decide university is part of your pathway, go ahead and smash it out! I myself haven’t gone to university yet, I’ve been working full time getting real world experience while I try new things and see what it is in this world, I really love doing. What I’m really trying to get at here is that there is no be all and end all, or one blueprint that everyone must follow. We are all unique in some way shape or form so it’s important we tap into that and live our lives how we want to live them. 

The most heartbreaking thing about society putting so much unnecessary pressure on young people has been the toll on people’s mental health. As mentioned above, most of the ‘rules’ society forces on young people are unrealistic, but society tricks young people into thinking these things must be obtained under a certain timeframe. This is the ultimate concoction for a widespread wave of depression, anxiety, stress and unhappiness. It is soul destroying to see so many young people feeling inadequate and ashamed of themselves just because they have taken society’s standards to heart and measure their self worth because of that. As I have stated many times above, most of these things are unrealistic, and they create unnecessary pressure that is truly crippling our young people. People need to know that they are perfect just as they are. Their self worth isn’t measured by society, other people’s opinions or trivial things such as having a degree. 

Another problem society norms have caused is the fact so many people compare themselves to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. There is absolutely no reason for you to compare yourself to someone else. You don’t know what that person’s past has entailed, or how they are truly feeling. The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. That is how true self improvement is made, not by trying to compare yourself to others. All this constant keeping up with the Jones is terrible for someone’s mental health, and robs them of living their own life.
It is important to note I am not saying that young people should let go of all responsibility and make no effort to improve themselves. What I am saying is that young people need to be mindful of other people’s opinions and society’s expectations. It is literally just noise, and if you can block out the noise and focus on yourself, you will be so much happier, fulfilled and successful. I vehemently disagree with society’s rules and standards, and hope one day people don’t judge others for how they choose to live their lives. I truly believe if we collectively go about abolishing these outdated rules and standards society will be a much better place. People will be happier and live life on their own terms, which is all that matters at the end of the day.

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