We all feel pressure, none of us are immune from that – there will always be pressure in our lives but it’s how we deal and react to it that determines our fulfilment and happiness.
‘Letting Go Of Pressure’ is the latest episode in my ‘Letting Go’ podcast series and as always I am so excited that I get to share so much with you. Podcasting is my new favourite way of getting content out to you because it just feels so raw, unedited and authentic – qualities that are important to me when it comes to HUG.
Lately I’ve been feeling so much pressure; it’s really started to take its toll on me and I can feel not only my mind but also my body beginning to shut down out of exhaustion. Letting go of pressure was a topic on my ‘Letting Go’ series list and feeling the way I did meant that it was a perfect time to sit down and give myself a reality check. It also meant that this was the perfect week to talk about pressure with you!
Like I said at the beginning – we all experience pressure and no one is immune from that. In fact, some pressure can actually be beneficial. Pressure can push us to do more, to progress, to grow, to achieve things; at the end of the day, if we didn’t feel any pressure would we do anything worthwhile at all? Probably not. So some pressure is essential in living our lives. This pressure serves us – but there are other types that don’t, that bring us down, deplete our energy and leave us feeling totally overwhelmed and this pressure comes from two places:
When we feel unnecessary pressure it causes stress within our bodies and although this requires it’s own space to talk about it, stress causes a whole range of health issues that can impact almost every area of our lives. Stress is a toxin and excess pressure can lead to that toxin being released leading to: exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, loss of sleep, change in appetite and weight gain (just to name a few). But aside from the physical changes in our health, this pressure (aka stress) can impact our mental state and emotional wellbeing.
…The list goes on and one.
I know for myself, my pressure comes from trying to live up to my expectations as well as my perceived expectations of the loves in my life. Notice here how I said ‘perceived’ expectations. One of lives biggest truths is that we can only control to the edge of our fingertips, anything outside of ourselves is totally out of our control. Yet, we still allow ourselves to feel pressure from outside of ourselves. It can be crippling if we allow this to take over, if we allow it to affect our choices in life because we stop living it authentically and truthfully to ourselves – that’s when pressure stops serving us. It starts creating a barrier between living our lives for ourselves and against ourselves. If we want to live fulfilled and truly nourished lives then we have to question if the pressure we feel is one of use to us or a hindrance to the lives we really want to live. Living life authentically aligned with who you are is the key to ultimate success and happiness.
Having said that, I know how easy it is to feel the pressure others put upon you. I grew up feeling incredible amounts of pressure to achieve, to be something, to work hard and make something of myself. Growing up that pressure transitioned into self-made pressure which also can have its downsides – but I’ll get onto that in a minute! The issue with allowing pressure from outside of you to take over is that it’s completely out of your control and so it becomes a race of fulfilment – it turns into a constant chase to achieve ‘something’ in order to live up to the perceived expectations of others in the hope that one day you will succeed.
What we are missing out on here is a major key player in this game:
We also forget this when it comes to the internal pressure we set upon ourselves – it’s just this time, the prize at the finish line of the race isn’t the appreciation and love of others, it’s the expectation that we will feel fulfilled within ourselves – that in some way, the pressure we feel will help us get closer to discovering our self-worth. Well, let me tell you, not all self-made pressure will lead you to feeling good about yourself, in fact most of the time it’s a great excuse for us to put ourselves down. Putting pressure on ourselves to be something or to achieve something is basically saying that we haven’t made it there yet and therefore there’s nothing to celebrate – after all, we are our harshest critics in this world.
On the podcast I came up with an analogy (truth be told I wasn’t sure where I was going with it when I started it, but it did demonstrate my point in the end – total relief there!). This of pressure as a car going full speed ahead. At some point that car is going to run out of fuel and come to a total stop in the middle of the road – it essentially starts blocking all other traffic and to make it run again means finding a garage to give it some TLC. Now I’m not saying to never drive at full speed as like I said at the beginning, sometimes it’s totally necessary, but put the brakes on every now and again to enjoy the view. Go fast on the motorway but then slow down on those country lanes to take in the scenery, stop for a picnic and refuel before you set off again. That’s setting yourself up for success not failure.
By constantly feeling that stress you will eventually end up exhausted and going through ‘burn out’ or ‘mind fog’ – no one is exempt from burn out in life and by going through life full speed ahead that is bound to happen. However, taking those breaks every now and again to fill your cup back up and give yourself that TLC you need, will set yourself up for success – it’s all about driving that car efficiently and learning to be proactive and productive rather than reactive and living with continuous low grade stress.
We all need some amount of pressure and a little stress every now and again can be beneficial but we have to learn when it’s no longer serving us. We have to question why. It can be easy to hold onto pressure because even though it stems from fear, we fear letting it go, of not being good enough and in some way disappointing other people or even ourselves. So question whether the pressures you feel in your life are serving you in the best way possible and if not – well it’s time to let them go.