In a society which pitches us against one another and detrudes our self-confidence, is it any wonder that so many people are sleepwalking through their lives, feeling stressed, despondent and unfulfilled? Today’s culture seems to encourage rivalry and jealousy, leading us to begrudge others of their perceived success, rather than focusing on our own. But what is it about modern society that evokes such feelings?
Social media is saturated with meticulously manufactured fragments of ‘perfection’, sparking feelings of inadequacy and causing us to hold ourselves to unrealistic and unattainable standards.
Don’t get me wrong, role models can be significantly beneficial to goal-setting and confidence building, but this toxic habit of comparison and scrutinization creates a negative inner-narrative which is detrimental to our health and hinders our own growth and happiness.
On top of this: negative comments! We can all agree on how abhorrent they are, but we rarely notice their reflection in the way that we pick at ourselves.
SOCIAL ATTITUDES TO WORK
The harder we work, the more admirable we are. We have this bizarre habit of praising people for overworking and putting their health on a back-burner, and judging those who put their health first as being indulgent.
If you enjoy your job and aren’t sacrificing your health in order to get the hours in, great! But working yourself into the ground to the detriment of your physical and/or mental health is not something we should be proud of.
With the rise of consumerism, our values have shifted to to a more superficial focus. We feel pressure to keep up with the latest trends, own the latest gadgets/newest car and can never wear the same outfit twice.
This consumerist temperament has sparked a mindset of instant gratification, we want it NOW; next day delivery for everything and then we’ll only wear it once: everything is expendable. We see the newest trend and we’re like a small child hypnotized by a new toy, dropping the old one to the floor to vacate our grasp for the new, shiny excitement. With all our focus on fast material gratification, we leave our true fulfillment tank empty.
The influx of opportunities delivered to our fingertips by the internet has had a paradoxical effect. Choice breeds freedom, but with so many paths to choose from, how do you know which is the right one?
We become consumed by the emburdening responsibility of choice. The fear of getting it wrong causes a paralysis, so scared to make a wrong choice that you don’t choose at all. Instead, you just continue to meander down the unfulfilling path you fell onto by chance, because a wrong path by chance is easier to swallow than one by choice.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re stressed. There are things in your life you aren’t happy with, habits you’d like to break and improvements you’d like to make. The first thing you can do is credit yourself, because by seeking this information, you’ve already taken the first step.