Friday, 23 December 2016 / Cambridge, UK

Pressure (At Christmas)

I haven't done a 'Let's Talk About...' post in a while now and I thought, just before Christmas, it would be the perfect time to remind everyone what the festive period is all about. So, why not grab a cuppa. relax and listen to me ramble about my thoughts on pressure?

I remember, one Christmas morning when I was probably around 13 years old (so crazily hormonal anyway) I had this horrible feeling all day like I wanted to cry and I had no idea why. I had received lovely presents, the Christmas dinner was cooking and we had family on their way over (in hindsight, it was a lovely day) but I just couldn't shake this overwhelming feeling that I wasn't having a good enough Christmas...

I look back on it now and I think I'd built this 'day' up so much in my head that nothing could live up to it. I put a considerable amount of pressure on this day being perfect and if I didn't feel ecstatically happy at every single point, in my head, I wasn't having a good Christmas.

Pressure is something I've always felt strongly which is strange because I grew up in a family that was pretty much completely pressure free... I was allowed to dress how I wanted, my parents didn't put any worth on what grades I got at school and I was just able to be whoever I wanted to be. So, why did I put pressure on myself?

I really don't know why perhaps it's just the way I am and I guess that's another blog post in itself. It did get me thinking, though, in the modern age we're living in, is it actually possible for us to just relax and not feel pressure from other people?

I'm sure a lot of you feel the pressure to be perfect, like me. Take Instagram, for example. I'll flick through Instagram and it just seems to be photo after photo of people having 'the best time' or flaunting their 'perfect bodies' whilst boasting about some top of the range makeup they've just bought.

A lot of us are guilty of it, though, including me. If I'm having a chilled day doing nothing, I'm not going to post a photo of my ugly beans on toast but in reality, that is what I'm doing. So, I wait and post something that looks aesthetically pleasing and skim over the boring, ugly parts of my life.

I understand everyone posts that are just beautifully glossed snapshots of quite their mundane realities. I do it too! So why do I still feel that pressure that I'm sure a lot of you all do too?

I think it's a similar thing to how I felt on that Christmas day. We put so much pressure on having the 'perfect' everything that if one thing is slightly out then we feel absolutely crap about ourselves...

This is where I need to stop. Join me if you want?

I know as well as the next person that no-one's life is perfect. So why on earth do I strive to achieve this beautiful, faultless existence? I have many faults and demons to battle against like everyone else but I have also been blessed with so many positive things in my life.

So, instead of making people feel rubbish about their lives by posting photos of 'how much we've been spoilt' (arghhh, I've always hated when people do that) why don't we use Christmas to use what we have got to make other people feel good. For example, I have spare time today so I'm going to my local soup kitchen to give homeless people a hot meal. All they want is something to keep them warm and energised. How can I eat my dinner on Christmas day knowing that I could have helped provide that for them and didn't?

Anyway, that's just an example of what you could do. I'm no angel. 

When I was young, I desperately wanted whatever the latest trend was to fit in with my friends. I craved that feeling of satisfaction which would soon fade when I realised that there was another thing everyone had that I wanted. Ir's this cycle that leads to us feeling more pressure. 

I wasn't allowed a lot of it, though (and, shock, horror, I'm still alive to tell the tale). We had a really sensible budget and it was up to us what we got within that budget but I was never 'spoilt' (I really hate that word, it makes my skin crawl even writing it)

I am honestly so grateful that I wasn't 'spoilt rotten' now because I've seen how the people that were have turned out. My parents did me a favour by not lavishing me with expensive things every time I asked for them and, actually, perhaps I don't feel as much pressure as the kids that did get everything they wanted.

I actually felt so grateful when I did get something special and the feeling of satisfaction lasted a lot longer because I was feeling true gratitude and happiness over what my parents gave me. There probably is some truth in the idea that people with little are happier because they are grateful with the small amount they do have.

I'm sorry, I've really rambled. To sum it all up, I urge people to step back and look at what they really do have this Christmas instead of focusing on what they want. There are so many people out there that want the simplest things like a hot meal, a roof over their head or even a loving family.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and really take the time to appreciate everything you have been blessed with. 


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