Is stress destroying your belief in your own abilities and happiness?

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Whilst I was in the city today, a sign blared at me.

“FREE Personality Test!”

This piqued me. Other people could tell me what sort of
person I was? It was 20-40 minute procedure, so I skipped it and took the five
minute stress test. It was almost as good, I like to think. Other people could
pinpoint the areas of stress in my life.

It looked dodgy. Just two metal cylinders that I had to hold
on to while the young lady (I’d guess 22yo) asked me questions. She twiddled
some dials and flicked some switches and set the needle to zero.

What was the most stressful thing in my life?
I thought for a while, and the needle flickered.
Probably having to be a type of person. Having to conform to
be accepted. Yeah that sucked pretty badly, because it took away this “liberty”
idea someone once spoke of.

 How’s school?
Oh, not so bad. A subject I hate? Maths. Unquestionably
maths. Yeah there’s pressure to excel in everything. “I got 6 A’s in my report!”
Well whoopdeedoo. Those six A’s won’t help you survive any better than me. You
don’t need a great deal of the stuff you learn at school, as soon as you leave
it. Oh, no, it’s not like I have anything against university- I’m a competent student
and all.

 In the end, she got the wrong idea about my views. I tried
to explain them with simple words that didn’t make it sound like I was your
typical emo teenager, but didn’t quite succeed. The needle barely moved at all,
so she twiddled somemore dials occasionally. She ran off to get me a book I
might want to buy, but couldn’t find it. I confronted her, then.

 “Why are you here?” I asked her seriously. In her eyes, I
saw she was scared. She was scared of failing. Failing what, I don’t know, but
it was everything in the world for her to succeed.

“Oh… Because I like it here. There are a few programs that
really helped me become happier.” She went on to explain how they helped, and I
was tempted to cut her off and tell her the programs didn’t make her happy. But
as long as she was satisfied with her life, I didn’t want to bring it to
pieces. She wanted to be happy so much that she convinced herself she was, but
behind the smile, I saw her fear. I nodded, smiled, and bade her good day. She
fumbled to give me a pamphlet for a do-it-yourself personality test, which she
dropped. Before I could pick it up, she held out another one quickly. I thanked
her, and left. At the nearest bin, I shredded it sadly.

As long as she thinks she’s happy.


One thought on “Stress

  1. Ivy says:

    I reckon you like to believe you can read people a teeny weeny bit too much. That’s nothing wrong with that sweetie, but you have this tendency to let their emotions become yours because of your inclination to be in their shoes. I know you’re compassionate John, but you shouldn’t let others’ lives bothers your own.
    Theirs are no more fascinating than your own story, have you not noticed?

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