First of all, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts/feelings about where you are right now. It surely sounds like you are going through very difficult times right now, and I’m sorry that things are how they are at the moment.
It’s really so good that you seek to talk about these issues. Not everyone does this. If nothing else, I think just being heard by someone, and maybe even getting some perspective on things from others, is a constructive way to try to get through troubles. So I commend you on reaching out as you do and using a healthy method in trying to deal with these difficult challenges.
Moving onto other people’s expectations of you and the pressure you feel resulting from that; from my own personal experience I have certainly found this to be a very emotionally difficult thing to deal with at times. Especially when it feels like it’s coming at you from every corner of your life, and it doesn’t feel like you can gain any respite from it.
It’s really difficult in certain circumstances, to try to clear your head and move onto healthy coping strategies. It takes time and a lot of emotional effort in *any* circumstance. It is by no means easy when you are constantly faced with emotionally charged and draining situations in your day-to-day that you don’t have a lot of (if any) opportunity to separate yourself from.
That being said, we can only try our best and try to do things that will help ease the burden of all of this emotional weight.
The first thing I want to say to you is this: No one can define you by their expectations, and you are not defined by anyone’s perception of you – not even your own. No one can be so totally and wholly defined in this manner. Our “true self” is an elusive thing, completely different from our sense of identity. A sense of self exists even when we don’t know or aren’t sure about who we are or what we want. It is in the experience of being conscious. You are not *just* the identity you perceive. You are so much more than that. You have a bundle of possibility in you for the simple fact that you, like everything in this world, are made of energy, and energy has potential. Your energy has the potential to be directed toward whatever manageable goals and aims you can perceive.
Through one small change or action each day, you can have influence over pulling a brighter future closer toward you. Every action and change will, over time, eventually culminate into a new habits and lifestyle.
Anything you do in your day to day life, will eventually have a net effect on your present and overall well-being as you go through life. If you choose actions that have a temporary positive effect, but over the long term will eventually reinforce or result in more illness or damage, physical or psychological, then things will continue to proceed in this way.
So, look at doing things each day, in the present, that will have a positive benefit for you over a long time of doing them. Things such as:
-Exercise. I find this can help to clear your mind and give you good feelings generally. When I feel bad, I find that going for a jog/run helps to expend some of the negativity I am feeling at any certain point.
-30 minutes to 1 hour of self reflective journaling each day.
-Working through negative thoughts and feelings with a therapist to try to understand any underlying root causes and learning to recognize your own self-destructive patterns of thought. (I have found the techniques of Behavioral Cognitive Therapy particularly helpful for this, for example)
-Mindfulness meditation. This is all about paying more attention to the details around you and learning to appreciate them, notice them. It can help to distance yourself a little from whatever emotion you are currently feeling, and give you a bit of internal relief from being bombarded by them. Through this type of meditation, you can learn to observe your own thoughts and feelings without attaching to them personally so much and judging yourself for them. It helps to be able to observe yourself more “objectively” and recognize any self-destructive/negative thoughts and feelings, for what they are.
-Expressing thoughts and feelings in safe and trusted places when you need to. (like you are doing now!)
-Trying to set aside a bit of time to do an activity you enjoy.
-Learning something new.
Please don’t stop being whoever you need to be each day because other people expect it of you. Try to choose however and whoever you want to be according to how you personally see and value certain thoughts and actions. Question others, question yourself, question life. Try not to take to heart too much, what anyone else thinks of you, including what you think of you – what we feel and think about others and ourselves tends to change and evolve over time as we experience and learn more things in life.
Try to accept yourself as a human being with a completely individual history, with their own story and troubles and reasons. Try to see the value in inhabiting this body and time in space for the very fact that no one and nothing in this universe can experience exactly the same things that you are experiencing, in the same exact way. That’s an amazing thing when you think about it.