While reading Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection it was very disheartening to see how so many people’s lives have been ended because of the pressure to be perfect. There are enormous expectations on people of all ages to be perfect and to ‘outdo’ everyone. There is a lot of pressure to be the best (student, parent, teacher, athlete, employee, spouse). Social media is a huge player in the never ending race to be the best. Everyone is constantly posting all the wonderful things happening in their lives. Currently engagements, weddings, pregnancies, and promotions are plaguing my newsfeed. It feels like everyone from high school and college are living in a fairytale and everything is picture perfect. It’s nice to be able to follow along with old friends and see other’s successes but at the same time, it definitely weighs on you when you’re not at that stage of your life. I spend a lot of time second guessing if what I’m doing with my life is ‘right’ and if I’m where I should be. It can be challenging to appreciate the successes in your life when you’re constantly comparing with others. I think this is especially true with high school and college students. There is an enormous pressure to be competitive with peers while also meeting the sometimes unrealistic expectations of parents and teachers.
While reading this article I think it really made me think about what my expectations would be as a parent. To hold high expectations for your child but not over glorifying which college they go to, or even if they go to college. As a society we put so much value on how successful individuals are on paper (number of degrees, grades earned, what programs they are part of) without really stopping to think about how happy, fulfilled, and balanced they are. There’s a lot more to a successful life than draining yourself to impress others. I think by talking about the balance between happiness and success it will help to normalize a healthy balance; and while it’s not a cure all, it’s a great place to start.