April Pep Talk – Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Yourself

You are doing great.

I bet you read that and thought “oh, everyone else who probably reads this is doing great, but not me”. You couldn’t possibly give yourself a pat on the back. You haven’t earned one yet.

Listen to me: You (you) are doing great.

Today’s culture has drilled into us this idea that we’re capable of so much more. (Note the “more”.) That we should have everything together and figured out, and until we have, we couldn’t possibly be proud of where we are. That even when we do achieve something, we should be pushing for more. We can still do better.

The concept that you can be or do anything you want is beautiful and empowering, but it’s also stressful and destructive. I mean, how much pressure is that? If you want to achieve something huge, and society says “yeah, you can totally do that”, then until you actually achieve it, you feel like you’re failing. Like you’re letting society down for telling you to dream in the first place.

The problem with ‘you can do anything’ is there’s no ceiling. There’s nowhere to stop where you can look down at how far you’ve come and go “yeah, I made it.” There’s always higher to go.

Someone I admire very greatly said to me recently: “Sometimes, you need to stop and look at how far you’ve come – because how far you’ve come is just as important as how far you’ve still got to go.”

We forget to look back and pat ourselves on the back for everything we have done. We’re too busy looking up at the infinite ceiling we still have to somehow get to. (Spoiler: you physically can’t.)

Yes, you can be anything you want to be. Don’t let me stop you dreaming and believing. But you don’t have to be everything. Don’t put so much pressure on it. That sentiment doesn’t go onto say “…and you should do it all by tomorrow.” Goals take time. Dreams take time. Life, by definition, literally takes time.

If you want big things, you have to be patient. Very rarely does anything happen overnight. So be a little easier on yourself. Celebrate all the tiny milestones on the way. Stop every now and again and look at just how far you’ve already come.

I know it’s easy to look on social media and see everyone’s seemingly big accomplishments on one never-ending highlight reel, but that’s never the whole story. You don’t know how long those achievements took, you don’t know what other areas that person feels like they’re failing in. And their story, big or small, doesn’t even matter – yours is the one you’re living, and it has as many chapters in it as it needs.

Go easy on yourself. Any progress is progress. Look at how far you’ve come and enjoy the view. Otherwise – if you never stop to take it all in – what’s the point in continuing to go up?

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