Just like taking care of our physical health is essential to keep our bodies strong and healthy, it is also equally important to take care of our mental health. Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which means it impacts how we think, feel, and act.
When you experience good mental health, it doesn’t mean you are always in a good mood, nor does it avert the stresses of life from coming your way. But it does help us cope with them so we can continue to engage productively in our everyday lives.
Expectations vs. Reality: Expectations are what we think will happen, while reality is what actually transpires. While we hope these two will match up, they often don’t. This disparity of expectations vs. reality can often lead to feelings of discontentment and unhappiness. Society puts us in boxes of expectations. When the chasm between expectations vs reality grows too wide, you become vulnerable to the gut-wrenchingly negative mental health.
Taking care of your health is not like entering a club. It is not like adopting a vegan diet and signing up for yoga classes. It doesn’t require you to change your entire personality or hobbies, nor is it a trend. Mental health is about learning how your mind works and adopting healthy habits that help you stay at peace and respond to crises.
Here are a few expectations vs. reality instances related to mental health that I hope most of you would be able to relate to:
- COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHER PEOPLE:
EXPECTATIONS: Happily enjoying your life, feeling content with whatever you have instead of comparing yourself with other people and always counting your blessings by expressing gratitude.
REALITY: Surfing social media and comparing yourself with other people, cribbing for things that you don’t have and ultimately messing up your mental health more and more every day.
Do you remember Kangana Ranaut’s dialogue? ‘Mera toh itna life kharab ho gaya hai’ (My life is completely ruined and messed up). This dialogue fits perfectly in this situation. Social media has made it easier than ever to compare ourselves to other people which directly affects our mental health, irrespective of the age. It’s essential to realize that social media shows an airbrushed, distorted view of people’s lives. The carefully curated images or videos you see on social media can lead you to wonder how all your friends are so successful and how everyone is enjoying on a poolside in Maldives except you.
But that’s simply not the reality. Everyone experiences hardships and challenges in life, but those things don’t usually make it onto social media. It’s so easy to think that everyone has it together except you, but that’s just the impression that is given through these filtered, handpicked snippets.
There are so many negative effects of the comparison trap, and I’m sure you must have felt them before as well. Here are a few that I’ve seen time and again:
- Negative and anxious thoughts that are hard to come out of.
- Higher rates of anxiety and stress.
- Overspending in effort to keep up with the people you compare yourself with on social media or otherwise.
Are there certain people on your social media that make you feel bad when you see them on your feed? Unfollow them! Don’t worry about potentially upsetting them, your mental health comes first. Instead of following people that make you feel inadequate, anxious, or depressed, fill your feed with people (or animals) who induce positive feelings. Your whole feed could be filled with pictures of kittens, nature, and a few close friends which will keep you fully in control.
We are all beautifully unique in our own ways and it’s unjust to compare ourselves to one another. After all, why would you want to be exactly like someone else? Stop looking for magic outside yourself – you are it. Don’t let your mental health get affected by something that is merely an illusion.
2. THE ADULTHOOD LIFE:
EXPECTATIONS: Once you grow up life will be all sorted and fun with no worries or tensions. Everything will fall into place. “Finally feeling mature and grown up”
REALITY: What is this whole ‘adulting’ thing?!
Needless to say, “adulting” is hard. Growing up can often be a struggle for many people who view adulthood with apprehension rather than excitement to explore. It’s no wonder many young adults often develop depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders etc. In your teenage years, you have so many hopes for your 20-something self. You presume your 20s will be the perfect time for figuring it all out, right? Nope, still avoiding it.
Maybe you’re unsure whether your degree is right for you or you’re unsure about your chosen career path. Or maybe you’re starting to wonder whether you should ditch this whole uni thing and travel the world instead. The struggle is real. But amongst all these things don’t forget to live your life to the fullest.
Adulthood is a lifelong journey, and these tensions will be there throughout. This is your time to go out, explore and tick of things from your bucket list rather than regretting in the future. When you get absorbed in the adulting trap, it directly affects your mental health. If you believe that life is meant to be a struggle, ask yourself how this belief helps you. Does it make you happier? I doubt it. If you create unnecessary struggle and stress for yourself, you are in the majority.
Perfectionism is a branch of anxiety that occurs when you expect more of yourself than you are capable of, leading to feelings of inadequacy, procrastination, stress, and severe burnout. And along with these lifelong expectations, we begin to internalize them, so they become expectations we impose on ourselves. As a result, the line between what is realistically achievable and living up to expectations becomes blurred.
3. DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO:
EXPECTATIONS: Being carefree and doing things that you like without getting affected by people’s opinions.
REALITY: Being way too sensitive and getting triggered when people say things about you that you know aren’t even true. Getting affected by other people’s judgement very frequently.
The problem here is before doing anything in this world we think about others, how others will see or judge us, will they accept us the way we are or not. Why? Last I checked, it is your life, your choice. Why do we need constant validation and acceptance from others? You don’t need acceptance from anyone but yourself.
When we start to rely on what other people think of us, and we make their opinion pivotal to our success, we start tailoring our lives to fit the expectations of others, and from there it’s a vicious cycle. The other person’s opinion is often based not on your beliefs and behavior but on theirs. What’s good for them may be terrible for you, or vice versa. Be who you want to be from your own perspective. Stop asking people what they think of you. You must make a conscious effort to let go what other people think. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, like meditating. But once you truly understand how to let go, you will see the world as entirely different.
I ll give you a small example, I wanted to start my own blog website and during the initial planning phase I was unsure about how other people will perceive this. After a lot of thought process, I decided to implement my vision. And here I am, one year later, loving and enjoying writing blogs for my website. If I would have let other people’s opinions hamper my thought process at that time, I wouldn’t have achieved this milestone today.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCT.
Also, Lifeofkg will complete 1 year on 24th June, and I am so overwhelmed with all the positive response that I have been getting from the past one year. *Grateful*