Recently I have been thinking about expectations. Many people would argue that they create their own expectations of themselves; I would have once argued the same but in all honesty I believe that we are often led into believing that, in order to be successful in life; a worthwhile human being, then we must achieve certain 'expectations'.
The problem with a lot of these expectations, for example, 'you MUST get a mortgage' means that so many souls are lost into this corporate world that we have created. Instead of following dreams and using our individual talents, we are pushed and pulled into the direction, that society has moulded us into needing. Last year I gave up my mortgage and moved to rented accommodation. My goodness the amount of people who feared for my life as I threw away my world by not owning a property. However will I be okay? This all derives from expectations. The things that we are told will allow us to be able to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Funny though, how the word mortgage comes from the French 'mort-gage', which literally means 'death-pledge'. The French peasants of the time were working until they died, just for the privilege of owning a house...... sound familiar? Now, please do not think that I am in anyway judgemental or bitter, this is really just an example of expectations of creating happiness.
What seems to have happened is that not only has an ideal world been created in our society's eyes, but so has the ideal person. We are made up of a society that measures happiness by our possessions and riches; the amount of Facebook friends that we have. We can post all of the 'It doesn't matter what you own, it's who you have beside you that counts' quotes onto our Instagram, but that does not take away that the expectations to have everything. To be good at everything.
Lets have a look at our schooling. Now, this upsets me greatly. Our teachers do an incredible job. They struggle through mountains of paperwork, follow schemes of work that they are not allowed to modernise or make more relevant, yet through all of this they continue to teach our children. My issues with this system come more into light at secondary school where children are labelled from the moment they walk through the doors. After taking their 'life changing' SATS tests they are placed into groups and given labels such as 'gifted and talented', 'average learners' and 'Special Educational Needs' students.
Labels are everywhere. Why do we constantly feel the need to label people. My son is not the most academic boy but my god that boy is like a modern day Macgyver when it comes to creating something out of nothing. This is his gift, but he will never be classed as gifted because being creative is not seen in our society as warranting that label. I can hear those of you that understand the gifted and talented label crying 'yes but he could fall under talented'. This is true however, with subjects such as RM (woodwork to us 90's kids), art, theatre studies all being seen as vocational subjects from GCSE onwards, it seems to me that the 'talented' label does not hold premise unlike it's academic counterpart.
My boy likes to play with the girls at school. He also loves Frozen, Cinderella and he cries at the Lion King. He is five years old and is often called gay by the other children. When I ask him if this bothers him he says 'No mum, I don't care I am happy as I am'. The other day he asked me if he could wear sparkly nail varnish. I explained to him that of course he could but had to tell him that people may make fun of him for it. He replied 'Well if they want to be mean mum that's up to them, I would never be cruel to someone like that, it's only nail varnish'. I can only pray that he does not lose this wonderful trait, of being okay with who he is and with who other people are. The world needs more of that.
My step-daughter is currently studying for her A levels and unless you are around a person this age, you would not believe the amount of work they have to do. At 17 years old she sits all weekend typing away, working herself senseless on eight different projects, all to allow her to be worthy enough to enter university. I literally look at her sometimes and want to cry. She is a beautiful 17 year old girl with a strong mind and an open heart. The world is in desperate need of her compassion, yet our corporate world has her sat there spending her whole existence on educating her mind; stressing her out; making her 'average learner' brain hurt; affecting her sleep; constantly making her question if she as a person is good enough. What society have we created? Does this girl really need to do three huge photography projects to be able to study psychology at university? Why does she have to be exceptional at five different subjects in order for her to be able to follow her heart by stepping into a career that she will love and enjoy. The only problem is so many do not make it this far. The 'gifted and talented' have become sufferers of anxiety under all of the pressure and the 'average learners' subconscious has been educated to say that they will never be quite good enough. If someone is told something often enough they will believe it.
Nice one western world. I hope you are happy with what you have created. Whilst you busied around in a Hitler type fashion, creating your perfect little citizens in your ideal world you have allowed a mental health monster to unleash itself into what was once a very much spiritual world. It really does break my heart.
'He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future' - Adolf Hitler
However, as much as it upsets me I believe that putting anger and hate out into the world is not what our world needs. Therefore my opinion of it all is this. Each and everyone of us has a purpose to being on this earth, and we should be told of that.
Looking again at teachers, I understand that teaching does need monitoring but these people were put on the earth to teach.... LET THEM TEACH. Let the girl who excels in English write her novel without the constant expectation of having to keep up her 'gifted' appearance. My boy is creative. He's not academic. Let's stop dressing down subjects where children like my boy can excel. We need more designers, we need more artists. All of these children that we push in certain directions, we need to stop. Society is creating it's own monsters. It literally injects people with anxiety; depression and stress by labelling and making people compete. Compete, not only with others but with themselves; that constant, never dwindling, negative mantra: 'you could have always done better'.
'Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all' - Aristotle
I myself am a healer. That is what I was put on this earth to do. Helping people to heal is the only thing that feels right in my heart. I have had to fight to get here. Fight through all of the expectations. Fight when my mind plays tricks on me and tells me to allow the external pressures in. Before all of this, I strived into retail management and had lots of things and money. Yet I was so unhappy. Not with the people around me but in myself; because these things were not apart of my own heart. This was not who the universe wanted me to be but expectations had led me to believe otherwise.
People think that to be spiritual you have to dance around a fire, naked (people always expect you to be naked) waving incense sticks whilst sacrificing local trout to the gods.... this is just not the case. People are scared to be spiritual and mindful. Spirituality is so personal and can be as simple as just being in tune with your own self and your own heart. We have to nurture each other and our children. They need time to educate their hearts. If we do not allow this, how will all of these children discover themselves. How will they discover who they were truly meant to be.
Mindfulness and meditation are battling their way into the educational system, when really we should be inviting them in with open arms because it is so desperately needed. What we fail to understand is that we need dreamers; do-ers; thinkers; artists; inventors; academics; writers; mathematicians; healers; teachers; scientists..... we need them all so I beg of you, stand up to the system. Do not let this society own our youth. Do not be bullied by any expectation if it takes you away from who you are. Teach yourself to follow your gut instinct, that is what it is there for. You are responsible for your own happiness and part of being happy is to be true to who you are, and we have to help our children to do this too even when the system pulls them in; lets not forget to educate our hearts.
So, I will leave you with this thought, one that I remember reading towards the end of 2013 that was hard to think about, however once I did I was truly enlightened.
'Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?' - Danielle LaPorte