Hidden Gems: How Pressure Can Shape Us

Hidden Gems: How Pressure Can Shape Us

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Five months ago I accepted my first full-time job as a building substitute at my former middle school. Although I wasn’t given my own classroom, I was relieved to have a place to go every day and to practice, observe, and grow in the education field. The very first day during lunch duty, however, a co-worker smiled as I introduced myself and promptly asked, “So are you overwhelmed with all the applications you’re filling out?”

Although I had been feeling this way for the past few months, I was caught off guard by the question. After securing this job, I had stopped applying for jobs. I was satisfied. I was happy with my position. Applications were no longer on my mind as I planned to apply for the 2017 school year when jobs start being posted in May. Right then, I was proud of where I was. Now, I wasn’t so sure.

Today, I read about something called the “Arrival Fallacy” on my rip-off calendar. In short, this fallacy makes people believe that once they arrive at a goal, they should be nothing but happy. For me, substituting was a goal I had for my first year post-grad. Even better, I was able to pursue theatre on the side: something I thought would end along with school. These goals have been met, but still I am not completely happy. I feel as though I lack the right amount of gratefulness for the opportunities I have. I am constantly kicking myself when I complain or bemoan my early morning alarms. This is what I wanted, so why am I still dragging my feet?

I try to count my blessings as often as I can. My solo car rides to and from rehearsals are often spent talking to myself, much to the driver in the next lane’s amusement. I talk through my to-do lists, my accomplishments, my worries, or yell-sing Meghan Trainer songs. Maybe I have a touch of insanity, but I find it therapeutic. Whatever it takes to get through another email box filled with new job openings, student loan reminders and the dreaded “what comes next?” question I get from family and friends.

I realize that I am too concerned with what others expect of me and am not concerned enough with my own expectations. I realize this, but still can’t seem to stop. It seems like I attract pressure from others. 

It has taken me awhile to figure out how to turn myself around and, to be honest, I haven’t been completely successful. I wonder every day if I am doing this right. Is there a right way to do life, anyway? Should I be applying for other positions or should I reap the benefits of being able to keep theatre in my life for a little longer? Do I still have a dream? Am I in a funk?

I’m not sure. But I do know a few other things.

Pressure isn’t always a bad thing. Pearls are what they call beauty from pressure. One common belief is that the sand and minerals are the raw materials for pearls. But really, pearls are formed when an irritant, often a parasite, invades, forcing the mollusk to fight the parasite with fluid called “nacre” that eventually becomes a pearl. (Thank you, pearls.com).

Essentially, a mollusk is attacked by pressure and comes out all the more valuable.

What can we learn from this? Don’t let the pressure defeat you. Don’t forget that you’re a pearl in progress (although you’re likely already a diamond to someone else— side note: they’re formed from pressure too).


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