Updated: May 28
Dear Asian Youth,
The pressure to be perfect is a human-made crisis, instilled upon every individual since their childhood. From the desire to be likeable, to vying for the highest test grades, to being compared alongside peers—we have all wanted to meet these societal standards. By doing so and subconsciously promoting this, we are hurting ourselves and even risk the possibility of passing on the harm to future generations.
A fine line distinguishes motivation and high pressure—a line crossed far too often, causing great amounts of anxiety to those who are inflicted; one of the leading causes of anxiety is an accumulation of stress buildup that causes burnout. The Yerkes-Dodson Law, states one’s level of performance alongside stress can be represented by a bell curve, with peak performance available beside a medium amount of stress. Once the quantity of stress is increased or decreased from the optimal middle, performance levels decrease with the extremes.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law of stabilizing selection is a perfect example of the distinction between motivation and burdening pressure; alternatively, the term, “stress,” does not deserve a negative connotation. However, it is the quantities of stress that can cause either complete boredom or severe mental anxiety. Motivating is an action that initiates a spark of encouragement, but this spark can easily turn into a flame and burn down the sane walls of a human if it is left to burn.
There are many causes that can be either direct or indirect fuel for “human burnout.” Whether it be physical or mental, personal health should be the top priority of every individual. Yet, many cannot afford to take care of themselves because of personal needs. Through obligations and outside responsibilities, overall well-being is usually not one’s first concern. This leads to an onset of disorganization and has the potential to physically harm a person, due to a lack of awareness about personal health.
The mental and physical impacts of high pressure can be seen in all age groups. While a person’s surrounding stressors are difficult to actively avoid, it is pertinent to take some time to individually reflect and perform your own “health check up” on yourself often. While this action may sound trivial in the short-term, the benefits overweigh the negatives immensely, as being “in touch” with yourself increases mindfulness and a sense of self-acceptance.
We have been raised to acclimate to pressurizing standards, and from this, we set expectations for ourselves. Such expectations can push people to their boundaries and decrease the vitality of a person. Many do not realize that everyone has their own unique limits. When I use the term “limits,” I do not mean to promote self or society imposed restrictions—I mean to say that we all have a natural breaking point where our toil turns into exhaustion, when our strive turns to strain.
There are many stressors that people cannot control for themselves. This increases the societal network, where someone may be the cause of your increased stress while you might be the reason of another person’s heightened strain. An example of this can be seen in how working parents receive pressure from their workplaces to excel at their jobs, and they may subconsciously mirror this onto how they treat their own children to meet academic or curricular standards. This is why it is extremely critical to keep in mind the actions that you make and the results of these actions, as to not hurt or burden another person. The famous Golden Rule states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:31). Negative actions are unnecessary evils that are levied upon us and that we enact upon others, causing an overall despondency within society. The only way to rectify this is to start with yourself. Take a good look at your daily routine. How many times in a day do you engage in arguments that you regret later on? By being mindful of how you act, both you and the people around you will benefit from such positivity.
After learning the Golden Rule through reading famous fables and listening to experiences from other people, I have kept this moral very close in my heart and I cherish it greatly. I believe that such a lesson can and should be instilled in our general society today.
It is also important to address that the term “fighting” does not necessarily always lie in violence and pessimistic actions. Actions, such as relating to ethical concerns or advocating for what you believe in are necessary to pursue individuality within society. Being an activist for moral circumstances while acknowledging the opinions of others does not relate to an onset of negative stress in society, rather a positive pressure for a change. The need to bring this resolution to surface is crucial to clear any misunderstanding that may arise.
Some may think that the psychology of the human mind -the way we think, behave, and believe—is difficult to perceive with one human brain. Others may anticipate that this process of understanding is quite simple. Nonetheless, I will leave such an interpretation up to you. Acknowledge that you are an entity. Maintain that you have the ability to transform a pessimistic moment into an optimistic future. Consider the fact that the world needs your good energy, just like it needs mine and the positivity of people around you, therefore achieving the Golden Rule.