5 Tips to Overcome Societal Pressure

I believe most of us grew up with the pressure of feeling we needed to be the absolute best at everything: the best at school, sports, extracurricular activities, socializing, or looking our best. And the main objective to excel at everything was to prove our worth to our parents, teachers, friends, relatives, and basically society at large.

Then when we grew up and felt that we finally have some control over our life, we still had to make some choices that did not align with our own happiness or interests in mind, but instead with the expectations from our family, culture, or society.

The real question is why do we feel the need to please others, or to have everyone on board with whatever we do in life?

The real question is why do we feel the need to please others, or to have everyone on board with whatever we do in life?

I think we have all been through phases of life — in fact, most people are still stuck in this cycle — where doing things or making life decisions, just to fit in or to do “what’s right” according to the societal standards, seems like the perfect idea. Moreover, some of us don’t like to stand out, and also feel that the idea of defending our life choices is quite exhausting. 

While giving in just to be a “people pleaser” is easier, or even seems right on the surface, it sometimes gets extremely unhappy and dissatisfying in the long run, not just for you, but also for people around you.

So, let me help you break this cycle of doing things just because you’re afraid of “what people will say,” and share a very simple guide on how to handle societal pressure.

Get your pros and cons list started

Collect your thoughts, and figure out why you want to do a certain thing in life. Whether the decision is related to getting married or buying that new iPhone, jotting down the reasons and consequences of your decision is very important. 

Bring your own crowd on board

This point might seem a little hypocritical because the whole idea is to do your own thing without anyone’s influence, but I feel that it’s very important to have that one person in your life (sibling, parent, friend, colleague, or even a stranger) who can give you an unbiased perspective and direction which might be an eye opener for you.

Make your own decisions

If your heart and mind are set to do your thing (even if nobody from your clan is on board), don’t chicken out! Don’t be so stubborn that you totally disregard other people’s perspectives, but if you are fully convinced and know what you want and trust yourself, then happily GO FOR IT! 

Don’t be afraid of failure

The fear of failure might linger on your mind, especially when you know people are just waiting for your fall, but when such feelings strike, remember the fact that you are a human, and you are allowed to make mistakes.

It’s either a blessing or a lesson

Whatever choices we make, we should believe that those choices are for our betterment, and we should be happy and proud of them. But in my rule book, I believe that even if our decisions do not seem like they turn out to be the best for us, they still leave us with memories, wisdom, and life lesson, which in turn help us a lot in making better choices in our life the next time. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. 

At this point you might be thinking it’s easier said than done, but practicing it myself for years has been extremely rewarding. Some life choices turned out to be extremely gratifying, while some turned out to be a complete disaster, but the feeling of doing something for my own happiness has been super liberating. 

It’s true that no matter what decisions you make, people will always have an opinion about it (both good and bad) but if you are doing something that might make you the black sheep of the crowd, it might also make you a trendsetter. Maybe you’ll inspire others to follow their own paths and follow their happiness!