How Society’s Expectations Force Us To Do What We Don’t Like

Posted by Aakanksha Aggarwal in Society
March 27, 2017

Self-Published

Having seen many people I know suffer depression and anxiety, I have always been looking for reasons behind why it is increasing rapidly especially among the youth.

Perhaps social problems have increased for the youth and society raises them in a certain way but expects them to be someone else after they grow up. When we are young and in school, we are taught to be strong, independent and fearless, however, as we grow up, we are asked to be bound to think in a certain way and live our lives according to what our society thinks is right. The youth of the country jump from a motivational environment a restrictive one, where they have to eat, dress and speak according to the society.

Well, let me discuss an incident.

Last weekend, I met a few of my school friends. Since all of us have different career paths, we were at different stages of our lives. However, belonging to the same city of Haryana, we had lots of things common among us. Eventually, our discussion moved on to the topic – Are we fulfilling our parents’ expectations properly? From here, came the question what they expect from us and what we expect from ourselves. Each one of us was of the view that even though we all belong to well-educated families and have parents who are quite frank with us regarding our life, there is still a gap in what society expects from us and what we actually want.

One of those friends had already selected a partner for herself and was quite sure in the beginning that her parents won’t disagree. However, she told them about it, her parents joined hands with the relatives and society to force her to find a partner in her own caste. According to her, she has a certain kind of comfort level with her partner and doesn’t want to look at the prospective grooms her parents were showing. She’s confident that eventually her parents will agree.

Another friend shared his story of how he failed in engineering in two different colleges and how he wasted almost 5 years of his life in following what his parents aspired him to become. He actually wanted to be a cartoonist which was supportive of. It was only after a few years of struggle that he met someone in the industry who helped him to take up this profession. At that time, he got the support of his parents and relatives since no other option was left.

Another friend’s parents were so concerned about her safety and wellness that she was not allowed to stay on her own even when she started her job. She was forced to stay with some relatives whom she had to answer for everything she was doing. She had no problem from her relatives but she wanted the freedom to live the way she wanted and without any restriction of what others will think of her if she does this or that.

So, what’s common in all these stories?

The desire to be comfortable!

Necessarily, freedom of comfort does not mean spoiling children, but it does mean freeing the children out of the saying- “Chaar log sunenge to kya kahenge”.

If two people love each other, then parents should take a chance of understanding their children and their life decisions. If a student does not want to become an engineer or a doctor, rather than forcing them, parents should help them through career counselling that could help them decide the right career option. If a child likes a certain way of living, then rather than burdening them with questions, they should be made comfortable by the parents through discussion, and a proper solution.

I am pretty sure, if freedom of being comfortable is granted by our society to these young people, a large section of our depressed population (almost 36%) will find the support they need in life.

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