I’m an eldest child. I’m a big sister to two siblings. A wife. A daughter. A friend. And sometimes it feels like the weight of expectations will crush me into the floor. Like one of those cartoon characters being bashed on the head and into the ground. That. The pressure to perform, to be a certain way starts to get to me. I question what I have and where I am going.

I get anxious. I worry. I compare. I panic. And then, I stop.

I take a look around and realise that heck, those people can want whatever they want for me and my life, it shouldn’t bother me. Most people want only great things for me. I appreciate that. But I don’t have to listen to it. I don’t have to buy into it. Of course I want to make the people who love me proud. I want to maintain any regard that exists for me in the world. But I refuse for it to be at the expense of my happiness and well being.

I was talking about the expectations of people when you become a role model. Whether you chose the role or not. There is an expectation to take criticism and harsh words gracefully. It feels like you need to be perfect, all the time. I thought this could be well demonstrated by an old episode of Khloe & Lamar. Ok you lot, stop laughing, I enjoy it, ok!

Khloe was taking a beating about her weight and size. She was feeling bad about her appearance and felt that because she was a role model about body love and acceptance she couldn’t do anything about it. She couldn’t say I’m unhappy for fear of being judged. But she was UNHAPPY. But felt she couldn’t say or do anything about weight that she was uncomfortable carrying.

Crazy. But that, right there, is the pressure to perform. Disregarding what is best for you, what you know to be right, and handing control over to other people. It doesn’t matter if it’s on you as a person, or if it’s about you as a role model. I believe your primary intention should be to follow your heart, make yourself happy and consider the input of others as secondary. Yeah, yeah. Easier said then done!

Do you feel the pressure to perform?

  • yes! anyone with a perfectionist streak feels pressure to perform all the time! It’s something I am working on toning down!

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Uh huh. For sure. Good luck turning that dial down. 🙂

  • Maxabella

    This ‘role model’ business has a lot to answer for, if you ask me.

    I am my own worst enemy when it comes to ‘expectations’. Everyone I know is perfectly reasonable and supportive. No one but myself to blame. x

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      I think so too. On both accounts. Yes, yes! 

  • Psych Babbler

    Welcome to the perfectionist’s club! 🙂 We put the pressure on ourselves…I go through phases of doing it at work and personally. Particularly in the last decade, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself academically and then professionally. Anxiety is so much a part of my life that when there is nothing to worry about, it feels weird! 

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      I go through phases too. Up and down with my anxiety level. Sometime I think it just pushes me further. Other days, absolutely crippling and not worth a thing. 

  • Hey Mel, one of the sayings I always hear is “fake it till you make it” . From where I am looking, you look like a consumate performer, you fit so much in to your days, and put out so many high quaulity posts. So if you don’t feel like you are performing some days, you do a dam good job of faking it. 
    Either way you are winning. 
    You are doing fine, relax and enjoy 🙂

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Thanks. It’s ok, these days, I barely have to fake it at all. I’ve learnt to deal with myself early.

      And THANK YOU, what an amazing compliment. Glad you’re enjoying the posts.

  • Clarissa Fraser

    SInce I was a kid i decided that I want to be a biologist – now i am doing my phd and everyone expects me to continue this way but i have doubts, but by having those doubts i feel i am letting everyone done. I feel pressure to perform by my dad, my mum and my supervisors who all have high expectations of me.

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      If it were me, I’d ask myself if these doubts are something that comes from almost finishing something or whether you’re genuinely doubting that this is it for you. Once you know, you’ll be able to explain it to them. Because if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that parents don’t stay angry, disappointed or upset for long if you are doing ok. Take it or leave it. But I wish you luck. xox