Thank you for sharing this.
Dealing with toxic expectations, especially when they become a little voice inside our head that constantly whispers "You are a failure," is a less talked about topic that needs to be talked about.
As a person who grew up in Southern Asia, I somehow exactly know what you are talking about.
In my opinion, the first thing we (as the children) should do is acknowledge the problem. The next thing, albeit very difficult, is to isolate the problem, separating it from ourselves and also accepting that it will always exist.
No matter what I do or achieve in life, I will be met with pointed questions about "what I am doing in life next?" and "why aren't I settled yet?" (Marriage and children).
The final thing, as you have rightly mentioned, is to take control of our lives. Even though no one gave us the opportunity to do so, we need to think about and for ourselves. Our mental health, needs, wants, dreams, and goals. And then we set a course to achieve them.
Reading this piece was hard for me because, at every step, I was reminded of painful memories from my life. The one's of endless comparison with others, complains about how I am not living up to my potential and a perennial disappointment over my life choices.
But it was also necessary to read as, from time to time, I need to remind myself that I am not there (in my past). I am here, in the present of my creation and I can live my life as I want, according to what I think is best for me.
Thank you for a brilliant read.