It’s what we all strive for, right?
But sometimes, it seems like a distant dream.
And you know what?
Society’s expectations can often be the biggest hurdle in our pursuit of happiness.
We’re all expected to follow certain norms, achieve specific milestones, and live up to standards that may not even align with our personal values or desires.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
If you’re feeling this way, trust me, you’re not alone.
Many of us are stuck in the same boat, paddling against the tide of societal expectations in our quest for genuine happiness.
But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way?
That you could let go of these societal expectations and carve your own path to joy?
Today, we peel back the layers on seven societal expectations that might be holding you back from true happiness.
1) Chasing the ‘perfect’ body
We’ve all been there.
The glossy magazine covers, the picture-perfect Instagram models, the toned bodies in the latest Netflix series…it’s hard not to feel like you’re in a never-ending battle with your own reflection.
I remember spending countless hours at the gym, pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion, all in the pursuit of that elusive ‘perfect’ body.
But here’s the thing – my happiness didn’t increase with every pound I lost or muscle I gained.
If anything, I was more stressed, always worrying about maintaining that ‘ideal’ figure.
So, one day, I decided to stop.
To stop trying to fit into society’s narrow definition of beauty and start embracing my body for what it is – unique, strong and truly mine.
Trust me, it wasn’t easy.
But it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my happiness.
2) Living by the clock
Okay, confession time.
I used to be a slave to the clock.
Wake up at 6am, gym at 7am, office by 9am…you get the drift.
My life was ruled by schedules and deadlines.
But one day, after another sleep-deprived night and hurried breakfast, I had an epiphany.
What if I let go of this rigid schedule?
What if I allowed myself a little flexibility?
So, I started to make some changes.
I began to listen to my body – waking up when I felt refreshed, eating when I was hungry and taking breaks when needed.
And guess what?
Not only did my productivity skyrocket, but my overall happiness did too.
Breaking away from societal norms isn’t easy.
But remember this – you don’t have to live your life by someone else’s clock.
You have your own rhythm. Dance to it.
3) Buying the biggest house
People often think a big house shows they’ve made it.
Nevertheless, does a big house really make you happier?
Sometimes, a smaller place can make you just as happy, if not more. It’s important to ask yourself what you really need.
Getting a huge house means more bills and more work to keep it up.
A smaller house can mean saving money, less cleaning, and more free time for fun stuff that makes you happy.
In the end, what matters about a home is how it makes you feel inside, not how it looks to everyone else.
4) Getting married by a certain age
Love is beautiful, isn’t it?
The idea of finding your soulmate and spending the rest of your life with them is indeed wonderful.
However, who said there’s a deadline for it?
Societal pressures can often make us feel like we’re on a ticking clock.
If we’re not married by a certain age, we’re left feeling like there’s something wrong with us.
But let me tell you, there’s no expiry date on finding love.
Your journey is unique.
It’s not a race.
It’s okay to wait for the right person, the right moment, the right feelings.
Because ultimately, love is about two hearts beating as one, not about meeting societal timelines.
So, breathe easy.
Your love story will unfold in its own time, and it will be worth the wait.
5) Having a lucrative career
I remember when I landed my first high-paying job.
There was an initial sense of achievement, a feeling that I had “made it”.
But as the months passed, I started to feel like something was missing.
The long hours, the constant stress, the never-ending race to keep climbing the corporate ladder – it all started to take a toll on me.
I found myself asking, “Is this what success really looks like?”
It took me a while to realize that happiness doesn’t come from a hefty paycheck or a fancy job title.
It comes from doing what you love, from feeling fulfilled and content in your work.
So, I took a risk.
I quit my high-paying job and started my own small business.
It was scary and tough, but it was also one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.
Today, I wake up excited to work, grateful for the opportunity to do what I love.
I am now happier than ever.
Success is not defined by the size of your paycheck.
It’s about finding joy and satisfaction in what you do.
That’s true success.
6) Always saying ‘yes’
How many times have you found yourself saying ‘yes’ to things you didn’t want to do?
Just to keep the peace or to avoid disappointing someone?
I’ve been there too.
Always trying to be the ‘people pleaser’, always trying to keep everyone happy.
In the process, I forgot about my own happiness.
I realized that it’s okay to say no sometimes.
It’s okay to prioritize your own needs and well-being.
After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Keep in mind that your happiness matters.
You don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.
7) Fitting in
We all want to feel accepted and loved.
Does that mean we should change who we are just to fit in?
Of course not.
In my teenage years, I struggled with this a lot.
Trying to dress a certain way, act a certain way, just so I could be part of the ‘cool’ crowd.
But no matter how hard I tried, I always felt like an outsider.
It was only when I embraced my true self that I finally felt a sense of belonging.
Not because I fit into a specific group, but because I found peace within myself.
It’s okay to be different.
Don’t dim your light just because it’s shining in someone else’s eyes.
8) Never making mistakes
Have you ever been afraid to try something new because you might mess up?
It’s a fear many of us carry, thanks to the societal expectation of perfection.
But here’s an interesting fact – Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
When asked about it, he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work.”
Mistakes are not failures.
They are proof that you are trying, learning, growing.
So go ahead, make mistakes.
They are the stepping stones on your path to success.
At end of the day, happiness is a personal journey.
It’s about breaking away from societal expectations and discovering your own path.
After all, it’s your life.
Live it your way.