...pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you... Now that I have that song stuck in your head, let's get vulnerable!
Once again, I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish multiple tasks in a day to feel “productive” and therefore, feel like my work and effort measures up to "everyone else." Sound vague? It laughably is. Sometimes I even go in the opposite direction of productivity and dip into the realm of apathy, as I am so turned off by and defiant toward, doing what I should and need to do. Between my new gig as an entrepreneur (said in swanky-sounding voice), planning a wedding, and being a fiancee (also swanky), I’ve created some sort of super-human standard that I think I ought to achieve. Not only is it unrealistic, it is also not what my partner, friends, or family even expects of me. I’m learning more and more that it’s a perceived expectation formed by societal pressures, mixed with a dash of what’s trending these days (via social media), thrown into a mental environment that already reeks of “doing a lot = self worth.” Yikes bikes.
For example, I also work in a monogram and gift boutique where I am exposed to women who host parties, go to events, juggle their kids activities, are maids of honor, up-coming brides-to-be, etc. Lately we’ve been monogramming a lot of men’s shirts for bridal parties to wear while getting ready on the day-of the wedding. Per pinterest, the popular thing seems to be to monogram the pocket with the bride’s new initials, one sleeve with the wedding date, and one sleeve with “I do” (it’s actually a thoughtful idea). One day and when I had done enough orders of these, I began to question whether that was a gift, I as a bride, should be giving. I’m not one to just scratch the surface, so I took that question straight down the mental rabbit hole and began to ask myself a slew of “am I doing enough, creating enough, buying enough, showing people I care about them enough” questions. Sheesh! What's next for me? ...Crumpling in a corner somewhere crying, rambling, and rocking myself to self-soothe? (this doesn’t actually happen, but it paints a stellar mental picture!)
In those moments, I have learned I need to quickly find ways to ground myself; To bring myself back to my own reality. I need phrases/mantras and choice words to grab hold of and grip-by-white-knuckle-grip, bring myself back into the light; into a space where I can fill my thoughts with gratitude.
It can be as simple as reminding myself to “take this time to enjoy being engaged” or to “stay true to you.” Other times its just laughing really hard at myself and choosing to have fun. Often it’s finding the root cause of my feelings, aka my body telling me I’m stressed or pushing too hard.
I’ve also become connected to this famous quote
Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt
I believe it to be true and a warning sign for that slippery slope.
This is not the last time I will feel this way. This is not the last time I will have to remind myself to slow down, to take the intensity level down a notch, or to check in with what I and my partner need. I know this happens for a lot of you too, especially as women. We are expected to provide and nurture in ways that exude perfection and should we struggle, should we feel weak or exhausted, no one should know that those feelings occurred or tampered with our individual strengths. No one should know that we took three trips to the grocery store to create the perfect pasta salad for a dinner party where the table decorations were equally immaculate.
This kind of perfection rejection is exactly what I ask of each of my clients as we work to build a style that is unique to them. I know I am combating style “trends,” what your girlfriend thinks you should wear, social media, and plenty of other noise that can distract you from what may be comfortable to only you. Please know that I go through the same pressures and because of it, I have compassion. Compassion for you, and for myself.
There will always be pressures of different capacities so I encourage each of you to find your personal mantras or buzzwords to bring you back to a realm where you have joy and appreciation for the very person you are.