Kate Middleton. Chrissy Teigen. Khloe Kardashian. Even the famous women of our generation are filling our newsfeeds with (multiple carat) engagement rings and baby-making, news-breaking bumps. Switch over into real life and the daily online scroll reads the same if you’re in your late twenties or thirties. For some women who aren’t quite at this life stage, this continual reminder can incite a feeling of pressure and worry as they look inwardly at their own lives and thus their own selves.
“I see this so often in my practice and with the single ladies I treat,” says GRAZIA psychologist Gemma Cribb. “We live in a culture where there is a ‘normal’ story and time frame for people to do certain things. When anyone steps outside this ‘norm’ in any way they will experience social pressure. Many women can become anxious and worry that she will miss out on these life experiences. She can also feel a sense of isolation: that other people are ‘moving on’ and she will be left behind.”
For every woman who has felt a little non-excited by their friend’s big announcement, insecure their boyfriend hasn’t proposed or have felt that pressure to keep up with their friend’s milestones (or even their own biological clock), keep reading. Here’s three tips to refer to next time Facebook makes you feel like you need to hurry along in life.
ONE. “Remind yourself that it is not a competition or race,” says Cribb. “Just because your friend is hitting these milestones doesn’t mean that you won’t ever hit them yourself, or that doing it earlier than you will make her more successful or happier than you will be.”
TWO. “Imagine you had met your milestones, really take the time to picture this scenario so you have a clear mental image,” suggests Cribb. “From that fantasy place and time imagine how you would feel for your friend about her news and give her your heartfelt well wishes from this place. However, if this doesn’t work for you and you simply can’t feel that for her, be honest and own it. Say something like ‘I really want to be happy for you but I’m so sad that I don’t have a baby of my own to share this journey with you that I find it really difficult. Please don’t be hurt if I don’t seem as excited as I’d like to be, I really value you as a friend and hope this is something I can work through’”.
THREE. “Notice what you envy about your friend’s circumstances or what her milestones make you feel insecure about,” explains Cribb. “This is a clue as to what you dream about and value for your own life. Then think about the actions you are taking in your life that will likely result in you achieving these dreams for yourself. If you feel you are not doing anything in your real life that will produce these results, try seeking the help of a professional so you can build a plan to help your dreams become your reality.”