Long time ago, women used to wear corsets. The purpose of a corset is to make everything look proper and “together”, so that only the parts that need to stick out do so. Corsets restrict your chest, limiting your ability to breathe. Fainting from wearing a corset used to be a common occurrence.
Those type of corsets are no longer in use, but another type is very much in fashion, worn by both men and women, young and old, rich and poor. The mental corset is made of “shoulds”, “musts”, perceived obligations, and other people’s expectations of you. It is also made of responsibility for other people’s feelings and actions, and the need to control yourself and your environment. Control everything, so that it fits into a perfect picture of a perfect life. So that everything “unsightly” is hidden behind the rigid structure. So that nobody can see your inadequacy and your suffering.
Suffocating for sure, wearing a mental corset leads to meaninglessness and loss of vitality. I don’t know if anyone faints, but if tightened too much, mental corsets cause suicides. Perfect job, perfect family, perfect vacation with perfect Instagram photos, and then… bam! Game over.
Doing what you want to and not doing what you don’t want to is not about being irresponsible. It is about being true to yourself, honoring your unique way of being, respecting your needs as well as limits. It’s about preserving your integrity. It’s about keeping yourself engaged with life. I believe that the most valid and genuine reason to do anything, also for others, is because you truly want to. Because it is in line with what you value deeply. Everything else is a lie.