We’re in the time where there’s so much pressure on the average human being. A lady wants to marry/date a guy who is rich, bearded (winks), tall, well built, “God-fearing”, fluent in English, has a good dress sense and a whole lot of things. Meanwhile, the guys also wants a lady who is beautiful, has a “good” body figure, moral “enough”, submissive, mature, smart, has “her own money” and several other things. Infact, I’ve recently met some guys that have added “tech enthusiastic”, “sports lovers” and “gamers” to that list and I’m like, “Really?”
Guys and ladies go through a looottt of pressure trying to be “that person” to the person they like. The question is, to what end? Is it really worth it? We all need to learn to be ourselves, to love ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin. No one is perfect and anyone who criticizes you for not being the person with the qualities they want shouldn’t be with you in the first place. If you don’t learn to love and accept yourself the way you are, you wouldn’t also love yourself if you changed, especially when it’s due to pressure.
When I was on my journey to loving myself, I used give myself an analogy.
Imagine there’s a tunnel in your compound, just right in front of your house and growing up, your mum will always tell you never to go in there. “It is very dark and dangerous. It is not a place you want to be”. Now, each day you step out of the house, you’ll always have the impression of the dark and dangerous tunnel. You might hear friends and motivational speakers tell you that “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” but you’ll actually never get to believe it. Even if you want to believe, you’d be stuck between”there’s light at the end of the tunnel” and “it’s dark and dangerous”. Whenever hope gets the best part of you, you wouldn’t be afraid of that tunnel whenever you step out of the house. You might start imagining the “bright light” at the end of the tunnel, but whenever negativity and depression gets the best part of you, you might not be able to get your mind off the fact that there’s a scary and dangerous tunnel in your compound! You’d have to take your mind off it to get a little bit of comfort and begin to live in denial that the tunnel isn’t there. You might even begin to “hate” your compound.
The moment you decide to accept the fact that the tunnel is infact there and even find out what is in it or at the end, will be the end of your thoughts battle.
If you discover that there’s indeed light at the end, you’d cease to fear that tunnel because it wasn’t all that bad and you’d be able to see the positive side of it. If you discover that the tunnel is only dark and scary, well, like I said, the battle of your conflicting thoughts will be over and you can either choose to live with it for the rest of your life or look for ways to bring light into the tunnel. Now, this is the problem-solving stage.
Whatever you choose, putting problem-solving before accepting the problem will frustrate you. You wouldn’t even know what problem you’re solving in the first place. You’d follow the trend or pressure and allow people’s thoughts or wants to push you around. You need to learn how to love your yourself; your strength, weaknesses, flaws, looks and so on, before you begin to figure out which parts you need to work on. Now, this is another point I want to make.
In as much as we live in a world where people want to change due to societal pressure, we also live in a world where people prefer to sit and not work on themselves. We celebrate bad attitudes. “That is who I am. I’m just mean and don’t take rubbish”. Or you advise a fat person to work on himself/herself to prevent some terrible health issues and the person will label it as a “fat-shaming”. No one really wants to work on themselves these days. It’s either they boldly embrace mediocrity or they pretend to be someone they’re not. You’ll hear someone say, “See, I can’t kill myself, English is not my language. You know me now, I no dey form” and same person will be talking about looking for the slightest opportunity to “leave the country to the US or UK”. Okay, stand-up comedian, remind me why you’re not on the stage right now….
We shouldn’t let pressure make us act like who we’re not, but if you notice an area in your life you need to work on, please do. Now, this wouldn’t even be done out of pressure, but out of desire to see yourself better (self-love, yay!)
Just have in mind that no matter how much you work on yourself, you can never be perfect. Learning to appreciate yourself whatsoever will help in your growth as a person.