What can be felt but not touched?
What makes people feel like they have nothing by suggesting others have everything?
What has been linked to divorce, suicide, poor nutrition, and mental health issues?
The answer: Pressure
Pressure to look a certain way.
Pressure to earn enough money to keep up with the Joneses.
Pressure to have the perfect marriage.
Pressure to be the perfect parent.
All this pressure is leading people astray.
In the health arena, too many people use the words healthy and thin interchangeably. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Health is demolished by a poor self-image and a negative relationship with food. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) reports that “every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.” Where are these eating disorders nurtured? Is there a connection between the photos found on magazine covers and the constant bombardment of idyllic images on social media and television screens?
Speaking of social media, did you know there are websites and apps devoted to helping people make fake vacation photos? Why is this necessary? Is a summer full of enjoying the sunshine in your backyard and taking walks to the park, not enough? What makes someone form a connection between their ability to afford vacations and their ability to live an amazing, quality-filled life?
And if we’re discussing social media, we can’t skip over the correlation researchers found between social media usage and divorce rates. When one increases, it’s suggested that so does the other. Does social media create a platform that makes it too easy to compare one marriage to another and one family to another? Do people only share one moment, out of fifty, when their children weren’t fighting and they weren’t annoyed with their spouse? Do parents only share photos of themselves when they’re operating on the highest parenting level possible?
Pressure is the common denominator in all these situations and specifically, the pressure to be perfect. But what is perfection? If everyone acted the same way, took the same vacations, handled situations the same and lived the same life, society would look like a collection of polished drones, executing perfect straight lines and never risking a ding in their surface by moving beyond the predetermined path of least resistance.
But life isn’t perfect, and that’s what makes it beautiful.
I want to see more Facebook posts of moms with smeared mascara and messy braids because they played with their children at the park. I want to see more social media posts that label carpet picnics in the living room and scavenger hunts around town as vacation memories. I want to see more captions of couples on dates that read: Going through rough times with you is better than not going through anything with you at all. I want to see parent photos with captions that read: Sleep is not my friend and Killing it in the crustless bread arena and carpool lane.
Imagine if we all took our veils down. When someone is vulnerable, they allow others an opportunity to connect. They allow others to see that perfection doesn’t exist, and striving for it is a fruitless battle.
So share that picture of you that’s less than flattering but shows your daughter’s amazing love for you as her little arms encompass your neck. Be proud that your children are fed, sheltered, and loved. Stop connecting your ability to afford a thousand dollar trip with your ability to provide a great childhood and future for them. Spend more time watering your own marital pasture than you spend looking at other pastures. Odds are, you’re only seeing the patch of their marital pasture that the one automatic sprinkler in the whole pasture reaches. And stop comparing yourself to other parents. Receiving pure, unselfish love is the number one advantage in life that you can give your child… and it’s free.
The pressure to be perfect may be reinforced by society but at the end of the day, we control our perspective. Change the lens of your perspective, and you may find that the world is a whole lot more beautiful and a lot less overwhelming.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach