In talking with people and reading articles these days; I have begun to realize that a lot of people have started to shift their perspective on ‘stress’. They have started to believe that ‘stress’ is part of living life in these modern times and that there is nothing much they can do about it. Stress appears to be the new norm for living a successful life in these times! It’s like this fashionable thing, a hot topic that people discuss with friends and family and enjoy comparing who is busier and therefore more stressed! And although at its face value, stress does seem necessary to achieve all the hundreds of desires we have in our life, in this day and age; however, all of these signs point towards another reality. The reality that we have become addicted to stress because on some level we have invited and accepted stress as a ‘normal’ part of life and living.
So, have you ever wondered why is it that most of us think that being very busy and stressed out is the new norm? Why is it that although this busy-ness and stress is wreaking havoc on our physical as well as emotional health, yet, we somehow are unable to do what is needed to reduce some of this stress? Here is my take on it. I don’t think anyone would disagree when I say that the goal for most humans in this world is to achieve great things and become very successful. And to achieve great things and become successful, we believe that it’s very important to work very hard. And because we think it’s very important to work our butts off; we ignore everything that comes in our way of achieving and becoming successful including stress!! So basically, our own expectations from ourselves as well as from our life trumps our basic common sense which may be telling us all along to slow down and to pay attention to what we have already achieved. To pay attention to our mental as well as physical health because our hearts as well as bodies can’t take it anymore!! But because we are always too busy doing things based on what our heads tell us; some of us don’t even know the first step to getting un-stressed and slowing down. And for the rest of us who may know how to slow down, we are so attached to our ideas and beliefs about achievement and success that we are not at all ready and willing to let go. And we are not willing to let go because we are very afraid that if we let go of the busy-ness and stress and unwind and slow down; we will be out of this rat race that we believe this life is. We will be out of reach of that elite category of high achievers and extremely successful people who make life look so very cool. We will be left behind relaxing and de-stressing while our neighbors, friends, family members and colleagues will achieve their dreams! And because of this constant fear in our heads, even though we know that we can’t handle that demanding full-time job on top of raising our kids, we continue to do it! Even though we know that our kids are our priorities, we continue to work longer hours and just expect our kids to raise themselves! Even though we know that our kids will not be living with us for very long, we continue to be stuck with our devices doing very important things! Even though we know we will not be here on Earth for very long, we continue to disrespect ourselves by not listening to our hearts and bodies!
And when you ask people why is it that they can’t let go of some of the desires and thus some of the stress from their lives; a funny response is that this is the expectation of the society these days :-). So, for example, if you have a teenage kid and if you are that mom who has devoted her life to making sure your kid is that kid in high school that all other parents are in awe of – an all-rounder who knows pretty much everything that a human can know; let me make you aware of one truth! These expectations and ambitions that you think are coming from this society of people around you and you are just doing what everyone in this society expects you to do; guess what, – it’s YOU who has these expectations and ambitions to make your kid into a genius not the society! It’s YOU who has this fear that if your kid doesn’t become this teenage genius, he will somehow fail in life! it’s YOU who couldn’t get into that successful club and so you want to realize your own ambitions through your kids!
So, don’t just go around blaming the society and the people in that society because it’s YOU who create this society. You are this society! It’s YOU who contributes to it! So, instead of blaming the state of your lives on this society, look within and start by taking full responsibility of the life stressful or not that you have created so far! Because unless you have the guts and courage to look within and take responsibility of the things you could have known and done differently, you will be stuck in that vicious cycle of expectations and stress and will continue to blame the state of your own heart and head and body on someone else. So, be brave and assess your own beliefs and thoughts which are being created because of these beliefs and the feelings that you are feeling because of these thoughts. Are they working for you? If they are not, it’s YOU and only YOU who can do something about it – not this society!