To Those Who Are Feeling Pressured

I took a deep breath and opened up my mailbox. There it was. The last of the five college acceptance letters I had been waiting for finally arrived. The word "Congratulations!" beamed through the thin envelope, emblazoned with the logo of the university my family, friends, and coaches were encouraging me to attend. While most people would be elated, I was anything but. There was another school I had absolutely fallen in love with, which fit just about every characteristic of a college I was looking for. But, picking this college meant disappointing everyone who had supported me throughout the years. It seemed like I just couldn't win.

As I prepared to choose which college I would attend, I was comforted by my realization that countless people go through the very same thing every day, but with different, sometimes more serious circumstances. Perhaps there's someone out there right now, struggling to decide whether or not to quit a job they don't feel comfortable in, despite outside pressure to stay. Or maybe there's a young person being pressured by their romantic partner to "go further", when they don't want to. It's an extremely difficult situation to be in, but here are some important things to remember in the times where you feel pressure from others to make a decision.

This is about you.

This is not about your parents, your friends, your boss, or your significant other. If you choose to make the decision that pleases them, but not yourself, you have to live with the consequences. The temporary happiness of another person is not a reason to live a life of regret and discontentment.

Some people may be upset with you for the choice you make, but they will get over it.

Those who truly care about your well being will understand why you made your decision. Ultimately, they may even end up supporting you. However, if you lose a few friends because they don't agree with the decision you made, then good riddance. You can still achieve success without their negativity.

You don't have to do anything you don't want to do.

In most cases, no one is going to force you to make a decision you don't truly want to make. Even if they give you a hard time or tell you that you're not going to succeed, remember that they have no actual control over what you decide to do with your life. If you truly believe in yourself, no matter what anyone else says, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Ultimately, I decided to ignore the pressure of outside influences and choose to attend the school I knew I would be most content at. Some people cheered me on. Others stopped talking to me completely, and have yet to re-enter my life. But, I am happier than I have ever been. Had I not chosen my own comfort over the opinions of others, I would currently be 1000 miles away, studying a major I'm not at all passionate about, and likely regretting my decision.

If you are currently in a situation where you feel like you're being encouraged to make a decision you don't feel comfortable making, I encourage you to take a moment to yourself. Center yourself, breathe deeply, and think about the possible outcomes of each decision you could make. Ask yourself:

Which decision feels right to you?

In what situation would you feel most comfortable?

What about the people pressuring you, what do they want?

In the end, if you have thought thoroughly about your options and are confident in the choice you make, things will turn out well. Just remember: it's your life, and you are in control.

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