Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Botswana millenials cracking under burden of societal expectations

“Being in my mid-twenties, I feel it’s a huge struggle to live up to family and societal expectations.  You should be married by now, or you should have children by now, or have your own home. But the truth is, life isn’t cookie-cutter one-fits-all.” Says Tuduetso Mudongo,  a customer service agent at Barclays Bank in Gaborone.

Sethunya Mosime, Senior Sociology lecturer at the University Of Botswana says although societal pressure has always been there, today’s young people also put themselves under immense pressure.” Back then the pressure to have kids started at 21, nowadays its 28 partly because biology suggests that having a kid at 38 or 40 is difficult but also because young people are in a rush to get everything done.  The key thing to remember is that young people should always do what they want and at their pace instead of succumbing to the pressures they put themselves under as well as society puts them under. “She says the professional success pressure that young people place them under coupled with the family success pressure give a lot of young people anxiety

Millennials are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and suicide compared to generations past perhaps because this generation carries much heavier burden of societal expectations. Millennials feel pressure to succeed, forever striving for self-improvement, particularly in the forms of higher educational and career attainment, and better social standing.  Many young people feel inadequate in that they haven’t done enough yet and their time is running out. A lot of young people today are competing with each other in order to meet societal pressures to succeed and they feel that perfectionism is necessary in order to feel safe, socially connected, and of worth.

Bontle Mmualefe who works at IT-IQ in Gaborone says societal expectations on young people are detrimental to their well being. “Young people sometimes set unrealistic goals for themselves and when those expectations aren’t met, it can send them into an anxiety-induced tailspin and when that happens they feel like they aren’t doing enough and time is not on their side hence their self esteem drops, at that point, they become more unhappy and less present in their lives leading to depression and even suicide.” She says young people need to live their lives according to their own expectations rather than societies expectations. 

Tuduetso Mudongo, a customer service agent at Barclays Bank in Gaborone says the pressures we are under are too much and society doesn’t seem to realise that they are leading us into the brink of depression and even suicide. “being in my mid-twenties, I feel it’s a huge struggle to feel up to par where family and society expects you to be. You should be married by now, or you should have children by now, or have your own home. But the truth is, life isn’t cookie-cutter one-fits-all, there is no such thing as perfection.”  She says young people need to shut out the pressures of the world, just because you’re not married yet, maybe not even dating someone, don’t have kids yet, don’t have your career figured out, haven’t bought a house…you’re still doing fine.

Gouta Olebogeng, a second year student at the University Of Botswana says social media adds on to the pressures of life already. “Seeing peers portrayed with perfect bodies, achieving noteworthy goals and romance movie inspired relationships increases feelings of insecurity and ups the competitiveness and the desire to do well. There is definitely pressure on me and my generation to look a certain way on social media. I won’t just post a photo on Facebook or Instagram without thinking I am going to be judged for it. everything we see on social media this can make us feel overwhelmed, we see constant achievements or people the same age so much further ahead in life sometimes can make you question yourself and doubt what you have achieved” she says a lot of young people are seeking social acceptance and appreciation.

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