Everybody expects me to get married, get a job, build a house, buy a car and have a healthy bank account not taking into account the hard work and sacrifices required. Nor the search or the pressures that come with acceptance or rejections. Right from an early age, I have always managed pressure well as a leader. However, I came to learn that with more power is more pressure. At 21 years, I was entrusted with the responsibility of running an entire university student government. One year down the road at 22 years, I lost my dad, the head of our family and breadwinner; culturally as the first-born son, I inherited my late father’s full responsibilities and role leaving me no time to grieve my loss of the only biological parent I had alive. No one actually cared to find out how I truly was doing but rather praised me based on their assumption that I was strong, this birthed pressure in me. I was under pressure which later became anger turned inside, raging, moaning… having violence inside me.
We live in a society where people ask, “How are you? Or how we are doing?” just as a greeting with no real intention of finding out how we are and they move on. Today pressure mounts more difficulty for Christians or religious fox; we tend to be more obligated to be okay. We feel like somehow we have done God a disservice to say we are not okay. We are expected to live a holy life according to human standards forgetting God’s own standards; that creates pressure. With every blessing, we have or get, comes a burden. The more blessed you are the more burdens, “…to whom much is give, much is required…” Of cause, not everyone will be happy for you, the person who has less tends to hate the person who has much cause they see the blessing and do not see the burden or cost of the blessing. They see and hate it you when you excel at school, they won’t see you suffering in the library, they see you happily married but won’t see your long lonely faithful wait in the Lord nor your submission to your spouse and hard work to respect them and they will hate you for the happiness of it. They will hate you driving a range rover but not look at how hard you worked and saved to buy it, or how it’s cost of maintenance. In the end, they make you feel bad or feel like you are the cause of their misfortune.
It is a warfare tactic from the enemy, stopping you from feeling or enjoying being successful. They stop you from the feeling of comfort that says, “…yes I have problems but they are in the right place.” It is with our minds that we serve the God and but if it is under attacked, all does not work well. Hence, I ask, is it well with your soul (mind and emotions)? It reached a point when the pain of my pressures had gotten a strong hold on me, my imaginations tormenting me. Thinking to myself, “I could have succeeded; I should have or be this and that.” In addition, all the voices that kept qualifying or quantifying the kind of life I should be living rather than that I was living, the reality. No wonder the word of God says, “Our weapons are not natural (carnal) but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations…” Joyce Meyer calls it the battle of the mind.
I am a dower, that means I do not measure and do not take into account that I have to let certain things go, many of us are. Many think I have it all figured out, well yes but not all things. I have just learned to let things go and say ‘No’ a little more often. One cannot be everywhere at all times, that is because you are a limited resource. It is important to measure what you can handle, the kind or amount of friends you can have, work you can or cannot do and much more.
Being well know or an achiever is hard to get used to because I keep doing hence draw many achievements (failures too); As a result, very many people will want to take a picture with you or be seen with you. We live in a social media world where it is all about looks. People today prefer photographing you, take your image and walk away without even knowing how you have been or how you did it. Not considering that the image they have taken is the cheapest part of you. Many people think they know me but they do not. They had a chance to but rather chose the image so they could post it online. We fail to live our lives simply because we choose to live up to social expectations and in the end, we are not happy. Most times my family and friends expected me to be a lot; not considering the hard work it took for me to be all those things, or how much I would lose myself in the process. I was so upset that could not let anyone of them in my life because being in my presence will bring them down yet they expended more of me. Deep down my outcry to them was, “Adjust your expectations of me.” Even though I am your leader, heir, lover, friend, role model or business partner, I have been going through some things. I know what you expect from me, I know that you want me to perform again but am going through something myself right now being pressured!
Worst of it all, there is the pressure that came from the guilt of being under pressure; the guilt of being inadequate, the guilt for being empty, the guilt of being beyond strength and out of power. It puts you at a point where you say, “…I got no more, don’t call me.” When you are a giver, depletion is inherent because in being a giver, you have to absorb the collateral damage of always being available to other people. That is simply because you have a big heart. The more effective you are, the more empty you become as you are giving maybe advise, services, help or whatever it is you are giving. It is like driving a car, the more you drive it, the more the fuel tank gets empty and that is why it needs refilling. The more you are driven, the emptier you become. I have always known how best to work than how to cry for help. As a result, I literally burnt up around people who I love, worst of it all, they can never imagine that I too got tired sometimes (it came as a random thought to them but not solid enough to cause a form of action to help me). This is because when you are good at what you do, people take you for granted.
Stop living in other people’s expectations, their need does not constitute your emergency. I have been pressed above measure and beyond strength, I have felt pressure get beyond me that I despaired life and my purpose in it. My inability to cut it had overwhelmed me because I could not let go of it and it was killing me. We are trained to see leaving or letting go as loosing, so we stand there or hold on. No matter how painful, we stay there; one of the hardest things to do is to be present no matter what, it takes discipline and costs our happiness if not well managed. In the end, all your lights are on but you are not home, your body is present but you have lost your true self, lost the ability to enjoy. By nature, we are a spiritual being, emotional being, intellectual being and physical being, that is what makes us. With life pressures, it is every possible to be healthy in one area and not other places even when it does not have to be that way. Very often, we mind more about the body, spiritual beings and ignore our intellect. Why have we divorced the body from the brain? If there is something wrong with our body we quickly call or run to the doctor for medication but if something is wrong with the mind, we bare the burden alone and call it faith. It is not healthy for us just like it is hard to be everybody’s hero all the time. You are the one everybody looks to, fixing everything forgetting that you’re (the hero) are human.
According to physics, pressure comes when there is no release. When things have little ways to get in that ways to go out, it creates pressure; when you have more coming at you than more from you, it creates pressure; when you are feeding more than people they are feeding you, it creates pressure. If they block your ability to release what they are putting on you over the time, you will build up the pressure. Look at how many people you got looking to you and then look at how many people you got giving to you. How much are you giving or are they taking compared to how much you are receiving?
You are human, you are a limited resource; no man is an Island hence you cannot deal with this anymore. I know you may say to yourself like I did, “I do not want to put my pain on public display…” But you have to ask for help, measure what you can or cannot do. Even Christ before being arrested said, “Father if it be your will… take this cup from me.” He was under pressure and that is why he understands it when you are under pressure. Pressure can kill you, it causes stress or even lead you to commit suicide. Is it well with your soul (mind and emotions?) Many are walking on streets as a deficit of who they really are. What do you do when everybody you thought you could count on has deserted you? What do you do when they only care about your talent, success, ethics and not your sorrow, your hard work or even care to give a helping hand? You are everybody’s savior, you trained everybody to come to you but when will you get some rest?
Therefore, pressure is real and dangerous to us all. That is why everybody needs somebody they can talk to. Someplace where they can go admit, “Am tired!” We all need to learn how to say no, to measure what we can do, to monitor not only our physical but mental and emotional health. We need to have a helping hand even when we sometimes forget to ask, we need to relax and have someone listen to us. Do not let pressure mount, manage it, live a balanced life and if you have been on the receiving end, lets start to care about the people we live with. Isn’t that our God given rule? Being our brothers/sisters keeper? You or they don’t have to suffer in silence, we all have a role to play.