How to Deal with Self-Imposed Pressure

Ways of overcoming self-imposed pressure

As I was writing about clearing my mind of mental clutter it starting thinking about self-imposed pressure.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve goals that might not have any real meaning for us.

We play over in my minds things we should have done, the places we should visit, how we should look. This is a lot of stress we put on ourselves, why do we do it? Is it to appear or feel normal?

For me, it’s time to stop putting pressure on myself. It’s time to rely on a vision for myself and how I want my life to be.

Sources of self-imposed pressure

Lack of understand self

I think there’s a hierarchy for the sources of self-imposed pressure. The first is the foundation and the hardest to comprehend, it’s to understand yourself.

Trying to understand yourself is a hard thing to do. We are biased towards ourselves by the ways we lie to ourselves about what’s really important. Consume news that agrees with our point of view. We associate ourselves with like-minded people on social media and where we live. It feels good to always be right or have the right opinion. But how much of this is real?

It’s hard because we can never get away from ourselves. It’s hard to really look at ourselves objectively. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

What I’m trying to do is understand what’s really important to me and what else is just mental noise and clutter.

Lack of personal vision

Having a personal vision can be a valuable guide to understanding the direction your life is taking. Developing a personal vision should not depend on fully understanding self. These aspects can be explored together and changed as we grow and learn more about ourselves and learn about the world.

Stresses of modern life

Technology can be a great tool for having access to the worlds knowledge in your hand. Yet, we can see social media and smartphone use become addictive. There are also stresses from the difficulty of separating work from home when checking our work email is so easy to do.

Then we have the stress of answering emails and texts and how people seem to expect instant feedback when you message them. Texting can be convenient if you’re asking someone to complete tasks or when you have to list things but there’s no way to hear the inflections of someone’s voice or hear the emotion behind messages. (Emojis are not enough)

Reducing self-imposed pressure

Develop on core beliefs of self

As mentioned above, knowing or having an idea of yourself and your core beliefs can reduce self-imposed pressure by allowing us to figure out what’s important.

This way you can focus your energy and attention on these ideals.

Develop a personal vision

Having a personal vision can be a valuable guide to understanding the direction your life is taking. Developing a personal vision should not depend on fully understanding self. These aspects can be explored together and changed as we grow and learn more about ourselves and learn about the world.

Set goals important to personal vision

I like to say setting goals is like a hobby of mine; I like to collect them and look at them but they never get far. The reason why is because I don’t have a guiding vision to organize and monitor my goals. Do these goals matter? Maybe, maybe not but how would I know without having a vision?

I see the important goals as those that would change the course of our vision. For example, a vision for a healthier lifestyle could include a goal of being under a certain weight or having low blood pressure. We could create sub-goals for this, including smaller steps such as monitoring calorie intake, going for a walk every day, or joining a gym.

Avoid unrealistic expectations

I think when we collect goals we set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations and failure. We limit ourselves by collecting increasing and possibly unnecessary responsibilities. These build over time and we struggle to complete them as more build up.

Then our goals get lost in the noise and we end up (or I do) on a mental autopilot just trying to get through the day.

We should avoid unrealistic expectations, they are the path to our own disappointment and a waste of resources, time, and mental energy. From disappointment, we can lose confidence in ourselves.

This is a path of easing up on completing tasks, that in turn build up, in turn, leave goals unfinished. This, in turn, continues to demotivate and disappoint and the cycle goes on and on.

Stop chasing perfection

I admit that I can sometimes get caught up in trying to make things “perfect” but I know there is no perfection I can create.

This takes up a lot of time and only serves to increase frustration and regret. The best thing we could do is to do our best with what we have under the circumstances. To know that there is no perfect situation that’s going to occur as we pick at the little things.

There are many things we can gain and lose yet one thing I think is most valuable is personal time. Personal time, as I see it, is unknown in duration and how much of that time do I want to spend agonizing over something that isn’t “perfect”?

I try to the best job I can and the job results I am satisfied with seeing. Others may not see it the same way but I need to be happy with the results and know that each task is part of a larger action and that’s what is important.

So, I try to refocus my time and assign time to things that are more important in the larger view.

Final thoughts

To ease our self-imposed pressure we should keep in mind that our goals and personal vision need to be aligned, and working together. I think that’s a way of keeping us honest to what’s really important to our goals and vision.

We should also break the cycle of unrealistic expectations and the pursuit of perfection. The only thing they can do for us is to increase our disappointment and increase frustration. With these distractions, the only things they do are increase our wasted time and decrease motivation to continue.

Now that you’ve finally reached the end of my opinion; I challenge you to change how you apply self-imposed pressure.


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Spring board for aspiring fiction writers. Using free time to write sci-fi / drama.

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