We are all dealing with peer pressure every day. We usually think about peer pressure as teenage peer pressure or pressure from a particular group of people to get a person to act a certain way or do a certain thing. Our society is built on a foundation of peer pressure that is causing people to have mental and medical conditions. In the words of one man, People “spend money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like.” It’s not an exact quote. Peer Pressure is a real force that drives real action but did you know that we don’t have to give in to its influences?
The media says we should live our lives “this way” or “that way” or that we have to have “this” be “this” or wear “that.” At one point the media said we all have to be skinny, have long straight hair as a woman to be beautiful, then they said it’s okay to be big. If I write a book and a lot of people know about it, then I must be an expert. What is sad is that we believe and buy nearly everything the media says whether we admit it or not.
We are told what holidays to celebrate and how to celebrate them . . . even to the point of what type of education is best or acceptable. We determine what is good or bad, valuable or invaluable by our attitudes and esteem toward a given thing.
At one point, being African American, I would never have worn my hair any other way than “straight” and long. When short straight hair cuts came in style, I cut my hair and wore a nice, straight style and received many compliments. We even let society tell us what kind of man or woman to date. This is how we came up with socio-economic status. And it does have its place within proper perspectives, but I say most of us are mentally controlled by “status quos” and don’t think for ourselves. We don’t even read for ourselves.
We are told today that if we are not on Facebook or Twitter, our businesses will not be successful. So everyone has bought in. It used to be MySpace. There will be new technology coming out and we will all move to it as soon as they tell us to. You have to ask yourself, “How did businesses become successful before Facebook and Twitter?” We as a society determine what is valid as a whole using the media as our guide and we agree upon it to make it a norm. Allow your opinions to be those you formulate on your own and not because everyone else is doing it.
Tips for dealing with peer pressure:
Let’s just take some time and think for a moment . . . who created books before there ever were any? Men. How did they know to create the books? Who told them to? They were inspired with an idea. They shared it with those around them and it caught on. Just because an idea you have has never been done before doesn’t mean it won’t work. Computers and most major technology, especially the Internet had to have buy-in from the people.
Peer pressure is all about influence. Who is doing the influencing? Why are they able to influence people? We all have equal opportunity to influence. You can influence people by not being influenced. It is said that people with the most money have the most influence. You know why? It is because people give them and their money that power. That is not real influence. Once you run out of money, you run out of influence if that is the case. My family lived at one point in a really bad neighborhood influenced by heavy drugs and alcohol, yet we chose not to be involved as pre-teens and teenagers.
Peer pressure is all about how you think about what other people think, have thought or will think about you. You have to not care. Not in a bad way. It is truly freedom to be able to live by your own values and not be concerned about what people will say about you. When we get to this point, we are free. This takes a great deal of stress off of us.
Lastly, you have to value yourself so much that it doesn’t matter who it is, if it is wrong, it’s wrong and you don’t have to go along with it. Dealing with peer pressure involves the ability to think properly about situations and put them in the right perspective.