• Michael McEntee

Societal expectations are killing us!

Updated: Mar 19, 2018

Is it not time we started to realise the negative effect we are having on ourselves with the latest diet, exercise regime and you must be....expectations?


What are some of these ‘societal expectations’?

  • Eat only this... (depends what you have read or latest fad)

  • Keep up with the latest fashion and look (at work and/or social)

  • Exercise at least 3 times a week for an hour

  • Use the latest gimmick to exercise it will definitely work

  • Remember your British, stiff upper lip and tell people everything is good

  • Been tanned or white, depending on the latest look

  • Work hard and long hours to be successful

  • Spend lots of time with your family or you’re not a good parent/husband/wife

  • Don’t smoke or drink too much as they make you an ‘unhealthy’ person


These are a selection of societal expectations and they vary across cultures and families.

We are all brought up in a world that is dictated by unwritten expectations, we are never actually given a list about these farcical rules, nor do we consciously sign up to them.


But, whether we are aware of them or not they are there and have been for years. Many expectations are instilled in us from an early age and they become part of our reality. We then live by these ‘rules’ and feel guilty or bad if we do not maintain them and believe we have let people down or failed. How can we have failed or been bad if what we have broken are only expectations created over time that hold no more truth or absolute fact than teddy bears talk (which most of us believed at some point!).


In addition to this how many hours do we truly believe we have in a day to achieve and reach all these expectations. We have set ourselves up to fail before we have even started. But hey, let’s get on with them and try and then prove to ourselves we are not good enough.


If only society could step back and look at what it’s creating. We (as we all follow and feed into these nonsense) are creating extremes in many aspect of our lives such as; body size, eating disorders of all types are increasing both gaining and losing weight and working hours are extreme, more unemployed and at the same time, more people working crazy hours. The amount of people that you speak to who are having weight or work challenges is countless. Yes we need to work to live and have a ‘healthy’ lifestyle but at what cost must we have these. It seems only to apt, that depression is at an all time high. There must be a middle ground and not the extreme we find ourselves in today.


What would it take to have values, rather than expectations, that allow people to accept themselves more easily and not be judged in a heartbeat on what we (society) expects of them? What would our values have to be for this to exist?


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