The year was 1995 and I remember being glued to the TV. It took me a while to figure out that the chants of “Jush Shthop Pretherin Meh” were actually saying, “Just stop pressuring me”! LOL. You probably know what the song is by now and if you don’t it’s Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s duet, “Scream”. Confusing diction aside, I loved the lyrics of the song, once I understood what they were saying, and the special effects of the music video too. Sadly, we never got to see the commercial juggernaut of a tour that would have been that Michael Jackson was preparing for. Can you imagine the amount of pressure he had trying to put the show together? No matter who you are…everyone experiences it…the pressures of life. The sad part is, since we know we all have pressure, why do we feel the need to put those negative feelings on someone else?
Take recent Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas. She has won 2 of the 4 gold medals she was eligible for. But before she even competed for all events, people were speculating if she would win all 4. Whatever happened to the joy of living in the moment?! I can only imagine how hard it would be to focus at that level when people won’t even let you celebrate. She was quoted as saying, “I heard cameras and camera crews are at the airport waiting for me. And it’s going to change in a big way that I’m not going to, you know, be prepared.” And who could be prepared for this at 16? Hardly anyone…Michael Phelps, Serena Williams and Venus Williams are all probably celebrating their winnings right now, but how can they enjoy it when people are waiting on the next best thing?
Ok, so you may not be a celebrity, Olympic gold medalist or worldwide icon. But we all still face pressures. If we’re not careful, we can let the buzz of people around us work us up into a frenzy and trip us up. We live in a microwave world with short attention spans, so victories are never lasting. Think about it. If you get a promotion at work, get comfortable in your job and stay at that level for a few years, people start to ask, “Well when do you want to move up again?” I actually know a person like this who has been in the same position for years, loves her job and has mastered it. Her husband makes enough for two households to live off of and she feels she is too old for the career hustle and bustle at this point. But if she’s truly content and happy at home, can you blame her?
All of us don’t have dreams of “going for the gold” and for those that do and have, let’s congratulate them, period. We spend so much time invested on what other people are doing that we forget the constant work in progress that we all are. The late Whitney Houston would have celebrated her 49th birthday this past Wednesday. We can debate on what ultimately led to her death, but one thing is for sure: the pressures of her fans, peers and maybe even family crippled her to some extent. Let’s not find ourselves guilty of this. There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy ambition, but everybody has a breaking point. Let’s be the force that lifts people up, instead of holding them down.