Why is it so hard to understand my insecurities about being expected to be highly successful?

Here’s how I view success. Suppose you have 2 groups, X and Y, and that the people in group X generally end up in 6-figure salaries, while the people in group Y generally end up earning a mediocre salary. Now, it might be tempting for parents to place their child in group X, as that’ll give them the best shot at success.

But here’s the thing: There won’t be anything impressive about someone from group X working in a 6-figure salary, as it’ll be expected of them. And if they don’t end up in a 6-figure salary, they’ll come across as a loser, as they didn’t achieve what was expected of them. However, if someone from group Y ends up in a 6-figure salary, that’ll be very impressive, as that’s way more than what they were expected to make.

You could say that I was put in group X. Personally, I would have been happy with a modest career and a modest salary, but because I’m in group X, I feel under great pressure to succeed in life. Despite the logic that I used when express my resentment of being in group X to other people, they seem to think me crazy, even though it should be obvious why it doesn’t feel good to have so much pressure on you.

It seems you have split the world into two parts – in reality the world is not just black and white – there are many colors and even shades of grey as well.

And FWIW I don’t judge people based on if they have a six figure salary or not. There are tons of honorable, meaningful jobs that don’t pay well but that do good in the world. (For example my D, a caring and very bright woman, is a speech pathologist – she may not earn a ton but she helps people learn (or relearn) how to communicate – and as her mom I think that is pretty terrific.)

Personally, I would not worry about your perceived “classification” – simply strive to find a college major and a career you enjoy and work hard to do the best you can.

So you judge people by their salary but not by their positive impact, or whether or not they are a good human being?

Tell me… in which category would you have placed Mother Teresa? Martin Luther King? The Teach for America participants? Jesus?

As for your predicament, OP: “To whom much is given, much is required - not expected, but required.” (Andrew Young) That might explain why you aren’t getting the sympathy you are seeking.

I think you could benefit from counseling.

I know some people who have seven figure salaries who are terrible people. And I know some people who make very little who are amazing. Money does not correlate to the value of a person or the value a person brings to society. Sometimes it is quite the opposite. I could give you examples, but you know them already.