ART BY ESTELLE ZHOU
By CHARIS QI
It is somewhat distressing to think of the times we have allowed society’s expectations to distract our dreams and goals.
Throughout the course of history, society has developed norms and expectations, but in recent times, these expectations are increasingly belittling and prevalent. Consequently, the world has become fixated on these perceptions.
Because these societal norms are so centered in our lives, our dreams and goals are often hindered by these expectations set by society.
Simply put, people will be afraid to do pursue their goals or express their opinions because of criticisms. In some cases, it could also be dangerous. Subsequently, they are continually pushed to fulfill a self-fulfilling prophecy made by society perceptions even when they have potential to achieve their goals.
In a strict environment, society’s norms and expectations differ from people’s actual thoughts or beliefs. These expectations are hard to beat and in some cases, dangerous, as exemplified in some governments and regimes today.
In a less strict environment, these expectations often influence children at a young age and increase in intensity as they move on to middle school and eventually, high school. As these children mature into adults, they are very heavily influenced by circumstances such as peer pressure or bullying. They are taught to submit to society’s perceptions of themselves and in the end, they abandon their hopes of becoming anything more than what they are “supposed” to become. Therefore, they fulfill the false prophecy put forth by society.
As a result, many potentials are not reached for the mere reason of expectations set by society. For many, it is the only obstacle holding them back from pursuing their aspirations in life
The only thing holding a young aspiring scientist from working hard may be the insults of a fellow student. This not only presents an unfair situation but allows people with no morality to step up to the high positions of society. The same people who criticize others for not following society’s expectations will be holding powerful positions and using it to their own personal advantage.
When individuals cave to the pressures of society, some thoughts and mindsets need to be overcome. By succumbing to these negative influences, the individual confirms society’s false expectations and therefore allows society to win. This further motivates those who instill false expectations and thus, more people are affected by it. So, the individual needs to triumph over societal pressures. However, it is obviously hard to move over thoughts that affect deeply.
First, “Ignorance is bliss” cannot be the sole factor when eliminating societal pressures. A strong resolve needs to be developed. If the individual wants to achieve something, they need to recognize that their goal is significant and important. Then, the negative perceptions can be used as fuel for motivation in turning the tables and achieving that goal. Take control of your future once and for all.