Society has set high and unachievable standards. To most people who have not acknowledged this aspect of society, life will continue to be unfair. I think that this is probably the reason why cases of depression continue to increase rapidly. Is there a way to avoid depression? Of course, there is and it’s very simple. The realization that you cannot please society and focus on self-validation.
The current state of society is sad. While we fight to combat coronavirus, we remain oblivious of a more dangerous virus. One with an even higher mortality rate. The virus is non-other than societal validation. Anyone can be a victim of this virus myself included. I was for a while until. Then one day I was hanging out with one of my friends and he highlighted people’s dependence on validation from the society. On my way home that night, I reflected on the goals I was spending sleepless nights to achieve. I didn’t need most of what I was seeking.
I was fighting the right battles for the wrong reasons. The goals I was chasing after were those set for me by society. Let’s explore this further:
A young man graduates from campus and lands a good job in the city. A year later he buys land in a nice neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. That does not please society because the best and cheapest land is in the village. But this young man has his eye on real estate which justifies his decision to invest in the outskirts of the city.
He builds a house at this location a few years later and moves in despite having not completed the house’s interior design. He cuts on rental costs and continues furnishing the house while still living in it. walk with me here. This does not please society. If you have to start a house you must finish and furnish it before moving in. But who said this is a must?
He saves up and buys a car which allows him to run his errands conveniently. He saves up on time spent using public service to move around. And yes, you guessed right. This does not please society because instead of building a car, he should have done something for his poor relatives or something. The young man seems to have his life figured out but that’s not all. Society must find a fault with him and it doesn’t take long.
The thirty-year-old successful bachelor drives home. He has been working and focusing on building his career for the past few years after graduating from campus. He is honoring an invitation to a neighbor’s traditional wedding. After the ceremony, he gets acquainted with his aunts who proceed to ask the rudest question. “When are we coming to your wedding? If you don’t have a special person, we can help you get one, you aren’t getting any younger.”
Under this pressure, the young man brings his lady friend from the city home the next time he comes. But the same aunties have more rude comments. They do not accept this lady and often criticize her dressing and mannerism. They are satisfied that their young man can bed a betty but they want him to have a daisy instead. The young man has invested all his feeling in this lady and they’re happy but society does not validate the union.
I probably stretched these case studies too much. Let me share something more personal, it probably will be more relatable.
I settled quite early in life and I was comfortable with it because it resonated with my goals. But I was the only one comfortable with this decision. Critics came from the left, right, and center with the same old tricks of looking out for me. My decision did not please society but that didn’t bother me, I focused on my family’s wellbeing and career.
A year or so later, I’m not starving as predicted instead, I’m turning things around. Society has now approved my decision and even considered me a mentor to younger people out there. The same people who had criticized my decision in the name of looking out for me back then, now validated my decision branding it as smart. Criticism was replaced with admiration or whatever.
The same critics come back with inquiries on when I intend to add another member to my family. This get’s me wondering. A few years ago, the rumor was that I wasn’t capable of managing a family and now barely two years later I’m already under pressure to expand my family.
Society will always be raising your standards on your behalf. If you heed their word, it will be a very painful end for you. You might be doing well in life yet lack happiness because you’re fulfilling society’s goals instead of fulfilling your own. Make a decision and a stance. You spend most of your time in your mind so make it a safe space. Bliss comes from satisfaction and in turn, satisfaction comes from achieving one’s goal not meeting societal expectations.
Filter out the noise and societal expectations because all the noise does is cause unnecessary fatigue. Focus on your happiness and peace of mind by doing you. Set goals and pursue them at your own pace disregarding critics who come in the name of looking out for you. You cannot please society, period!