Falling for Societies Ideals: Whose Choice is it Anyway?

by Melody Jean

Falling For Societies Ideals and Expectations: Who's Choice is It Anyway?Oh my! How I marvel, now, that I allowed myself for so many years to become extremely caught up in the pleasures and pains of society.

I talk a lot about expectations set forth by society (because they exist). Yet I realize I’ve worked my boot-ay off to achieve these things. Some by choice, especially in my adult years.

What’s “Expected”

The plan society outlined is a daunting one, of which I achieved most, but not all.

It includes what we’re “expected” to do as children and as adolescents. From school, to playing sports and after school activities, to receiving good grades, to Senior Class President, yes, I excelled in many ways.

I did well enough in college too, earning my degree in communications/ public relations, as well as a minor in Health Science. Though, I was also sure to taste the elixir of “fun” offered in the party scene <wink, wink>.

I went onto graduate school and received my Master’s degree. It was then that I worked for major entities in Boston, New York City, and continue to in local cities in my area.

You see, my whole life, I worked well, hard, and did so, because I thought I had to. Not because family, parents, or teachers told me too.

Somewhere along the way I went head-strong into achieving. I watched others achieve so it became natural (to me) to assume that is what I was supposed do.

I’d be remiss too if I didn’t add that also, it’s hard-wired in my personality over-achieving.

I thrive on doing well. With that, my career flourished, yet, my energy and time for other important elements waned.

Examples in Charge

–> I Want a Perfect Body

I thought I had to have the perfect body. Do you know how difficult this is when you’re five feet tall?

The “perfect” figure is one where clothes fit well and look incredible. Typically clothes look best on a hanger so super-thin was in.

As a result, I ate “well,” or what I thought was well, exercised regularly and even sacrificed family/friend outings to ensure I worked-out X number of times a week.

Looking back now, I guess I didn’t eat well.  I actually deprived myself of essential nutrients I needed because, again, society said they were bad for me (fat, sugars, grains, etc).

–> I Want a Perfect Career

I wanted to be the best I could be in school and at work.

I realize now that, no, I didn’t always work in the most realistic vein. I worked like a maniac – too hard and too much – to the point, where I’d drive myself into the ground until I became physically ill.

Of course, I never had a boss who didn’t like this aspect about me, yet, my body didn’t like it, nor did my family. They missed me.

My spirit, my mind, and my soul suffered too.

Falling for Society

So yes, I fell for societies ideals in many ways, from tangible to intangible.

I sacrificed much to achieve ideals set forth from some big elusive element called “society.”  I fell hard for society’s ways.

–> Perfect Family Be Gone!

In so doing so far I’ve missed the mark on one element society deems ideal … the “perfect family.”

I don’t have an immediate family of my own – a husband or children like most my age.

Of course in lieu of that I have a flourishing career, advanced degrees. I’ve lived in cities some people will only dream of.  I’ve traveled to foreign countries, and published two very successful blogs. I contributed in marketing campaigns for up and coming authors and artists. I used to be an avid cyclist and hiker. And now, I just I enjoy the richness of nature, and much more.

I had ample opportunities to start a family along the way – yet, the men I chose were not “there”  either. They were overachievers and die-hard workers, although, all caring men. I attracted what I put out – those who valued career and society ideals.

–> Perfect Health Be Gone!

When I was ready to start a family, my body crapped-out at various points.

I lived a pressure filled life. All to conform and achieve what I thought society said I had to.

I sacrificed my body, mind, and spirit in this pursuit.

Is All of This By Choice?

In a recent conversation it was offered that I chose to participate at the level I did. While these “ideas and expectations” as I call them were set forth – it was my decision(s) to go after them so drastically.

My dad maintains that we’re indoctrinated (by society’s norms and expectations), in a sense, from a young age. So I’m not all to blame (e.g. all my choice). When young and impressionable and society is wielding – as a child we’re left with limited choices other than those put before us by those we know and trust.

In my adult years, yes I continued in that vein. I continued to fall for the expectations of society and fall hard. Yet perhaps it would have been different if it hadn’t begun when I was so young.

Finding Contentment

Today I’m content with my career (even though how I got here was in overdrive).  I’m A-OK with the way I look (my figure is fine for my size). Further, I’ve made peace that I have thus far fallen short of familial ideals. If having biological children ends-up not coming to fruition, I’m okay.  I realize that I can have a happy marriage any way. Too, if he is blessed with kids,  I will enjoy his children.

So while I’m finding contentment, I’m still learning to let go of the tangible elements and false ideals I’ve held so close for so long. In so doing it’s my hopes that I can reach higher.

My Spirit, My Soul — A Higher Essence

One thing society does not teach us, or perhaps it’s just not as forthcoming, is how to develop our spirit, or our souls. Sure there is religion, but this is different.

It’s the essence we should embody that ensures we become “one” with the source. It’s the true path we should follow.

So while falling hard for society’s claims of a road to happiness, I always felt empty, as if something was missing. It was this essence.

I’ve been told of the path since I was 18 years old. As is such, I’ve dabbled in its richness over the years. Yet, with all of the diversions I’ve encountered, I strayed a lot.

Falling for Expectations

Perhaps my present state, one of struggle, will push me there. To the path that is truly intended.

I hope so, but I’ve also learned not to expect something to happen in anything.

As falling for expectations, can be the hardest fall of all.

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