Wicked Wednesday

The Pressure to Be the Best

Unless you had (or are) one of those ranting parents at a baseball or football game, loudly screaming at encouraging your children to do their best win-win-WIN, damn it or requiring perfect marks in school or playing the violin every day or anyone of the pressures a parent can and will (inadvertently) place on a child, any pressure you may feel probably comes from within. (Instead of the pressure of a parental acceptance, I mean.)

I must present this report better than anyone else in the history of presenting reports.

If I don’t finish this 85 mile run with a smile on my face, I’m a failure.

I have to find the perfect kinky partner, fall madly in love, never make a mistake, and never get into an argument. If not, I’m a BDSM failure.

Whoa, hold up there.

I’m no stranger to pressure. I nursed on it from the cradle. Growing up with high expectations of the people around me and from myself felt natural. It still does. Sitting still means letting something go undone, letting someone pass you in something, or not trying hard enough to do All The Things.

But, hell, y’all, that’s just bullshit.

For sure, some of us thrive on pressure. Pour it on, and I’ll stretch myself to not only meet expectations but beat them, too. I get kind of a high from it, when I see the impressed look on someone’s face or hear it in their tone. The “I didn’t think anyone could do that” look and tone. It’s kind of addicting.

Others of us run from the pressure. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s silly. It’s not meant for me. Let other people do that.

Really, though, we’re all a mixture of both. When something is important to us, we accept the pressure, work hard, and do our best. When it’s not – or when it scares the hell out of us (regardless of how important it may be) – we’ll hide from it, ignore it, or just make excuses about why we can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t do it.

For people hard-wired like me, we pile on the pressure, add another goal, grow our to-do list, and move forward. The ability to do this is good or not, depending on your perspective. (If you’re the one waiting to eat dinner, have sex, or go to sleep while your pressure-loving partner is grinding away on a new project, you might not love this ability.)

The pressure isn’t a bad thing.

The new goals and projects aren’t a bad thing.

The ability to forget that life isn’t as much of a competition as we think it is, can definitely be a bad thing.

“I want to be the best.”

“I want to win.”

“I want to never make a mistake or do something wrong.”

Those sound like nice goals to have, but can we come back down to reality for a minute?

Someone will always be better than you at something. Always.

You don’t learn near as much from winning as you do from not winning.

How can you expect to grow or change if you never make a mistake?

I sound like a sage, a kinky woman filled with wisdom, don’t I? Don’t believe it for a second. I know these things because I have to verbally remind myself of them every single day. I have to literally say the words, “This isn’t a competition” or “Yes, that writing is better than yours. Enjoy what you’re reading and stop worrying” or “Well, you tried that thing and it didn’t work. Move on.” The new one I’ve added to my daily reminders is “It’s okay to take a break and rest. It’s necessary. Relax. Chill. Chillaaaaaax.”

How do I combat this weird feeling that I have to go-go-go, be-be-be all the time? Well, I try that “chillax” thing. But I also try to celebrate the people around me. My journey in this “thing” – kinky life, writing life, existence, pick one – is different from the next person. We all have something to learn from one another. We’re all just trying to make it from day to day, find a little love, maybe have some good sex, take care of the people we love, and have a life worth living.

I find it’s easier to remember there’s no need for all the pressure, no need to be “the best” when I celebrate what other people are doing. Celebrate differences. Encourage good work. Join in the community. Sit still and listen. Instead of worrying about what I’m doing (or how I’m doing it) so much, I remind myself that other people’s goals and pressures are just as important and worthy of attention. It reminds me that this isn’t a rat race as much as it’s a journey, one we’re all on.

So while giving my best is important (I like to say I’m not trying to beat anyone else, just myself), it’s equally as important to not let the pressure rule our hearts, minds, and lives. Don’t let the pressure of being the best derail you from also being wonderfully flawed and human or from remembering that life really isn’t a competition, and none of us are getting out alive, so we need to enjoy each other more and compete less.

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday, and a happy Week 200 to Marie Rebelle for this amazing meme going for so long! The prompt was to share “our best” or “our best side.” My mind went somewhere else – as you can tell. Being our best is a worthy endeavor until the pressure we pile on turns us into anything but our best. For real smut, click on the button, y’all.

Wicked Wednesday


About the author

Kayla Lords

I am a sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, international speaker, kink educator, and all-around kinky woman. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have happy healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!


  • You’re right, there’s always someone that will be better than us. I cannot remember when it happened, but somewhere in the past 6 years of blogging I just started doing my own thing, keeping myself happy and not worrying if someone else is better. Once I did that, it was like a weight fell off my shoulders. Yes, I am in competition with myself, but I too allow myself to relax, to move away from the computer and enjoy other things.

    Great post!

    Rebel xox

    • I find that happening with me more often than not. I think some of my best pieces of content are when I don’t worry at all about what anyone else is doing and just speak my own truth. Hopefully soon, I’ll be like you, and not worry about it at all. 🙂

  • I think the realisation of not succumbing to pressure from one’s peers etc comes with . . . I was going to say “age” . . . but, actually, I mean “maturity” !!!
    Now, my main criteria is just to have FUN.
    You can’t please everybody . . . so why not just please yourself ??? (And generally I find that pleases people around me. LOL!!!)
    Xxx – K

    • It’s strange, in the kinky world, I think I’ve reached that level of maturity. In the vanilla world? I struggle. But we’re all a work in progress. 🙂

  • Very wise words. I find too much pressure actually stifles me and causes me to freeze up because it crowds my brain and pushes everything else out.


    • If I let myself get into a loop of piling on too much pressure to the point I become overwhelmed, that can happen to me too. I guess, like everything, there’s a balance. 🙂

  • I’m raising kids in Singapore, one of the most academically competitive countries in the world (and they never let you forget they’re number one). It’s exhausting, and so hard not to let the panic around exams infect my parenting (yes, exams in grade 1 and grade 2 where three tests determine your grade for the year–and this is considered “low stress” compared to the older years). I probably fail more frequently and push my kids more than I should–and it’s something I struggle with daily. Where is the line between pushing a kid to their full potential and too hard.

    I grew up with an incredibly permissive single mom. She barely graduated high school and had no idea what to do with a very academic child. I was taking subjects she didn’t know anything about. Coupled with undiagnosed mental health issues, she was distant and never pushed me one day. Because of that, I squandered so much potential and I have so many regrets about my life from the age of 12 to 18. I wonder where I would be if I had grown into my full potential. Then I remember that I have a pretty fantastic life–a career, a family I love, and a life that is overall pretty good.

    But now I want to learn all the high school math and science I never learned. And I don’t want my kids to miss out because I wasn’t there to ensure that they were held to an appropriate standard. My husband is from a family of valedictorians and graduated from MIT.

    Every day we remind ourselves that we, ourselves, don’t need to be the best, either. That it’s okay for us to fail and fall flat on our faces, and that there are so many negatives to being a perfectionist. My husband isn’t a good driver and because he’s not the best he prefers to never drive unless he has to. I didn’t get good grades in math and science so I majored in history and english and avoided those subjects I didn’t struggle in.

    Every day we remember to forgive ourselves and to teach our kids that failure is part of life and a healthy part, at that.

    • From failure we can grow, learn, and become better versions of ourselves. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. On a much smaller scale, I struggle with the same thing with my own kids. I was the valedictorian, blah blah blah, and it’s difficult not to push the same expectations my parents had onto my kids. It’s all about balance. I don’t know what we ever find it but as long as we look for it, we’re better off than those who don’t. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  • OOOOHHHHH, pressure! I love pressure, until I break. I’m trying to be a reformed perfectionist and, I tell ya, the 17-step recovery program isn’t that good. (12 steps to weren’t enough) I like pressure because I moves me beyond mediocrity, but when it halts all progress, it’s over the line. And I usually combine perfectionism with pressure to create a boiling pot of problems for myself. It sure is a tightrope to walk to find the right balance and not let the craziness of obsession take over.

  • As Modesty says with “maturity” comes a change in mindset, well it did for me! I love being so free to just be me.

    Velvet x

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