Resisting Outside Pressure

Resisting Outside Pressure

The first time that we experience peer pressure is during childhood. Most of us have this innate desire to fit in, and sometimes we are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen…

When I was in junior high, I had a group of friends just like everyone that age does. I wasn’t the most popular person, but I wasn’t at the bottom of the social food chain either. If I wanted to I could have easily fit in with the “it” crowd. I played basketball with some of the girls at the top, and we would hang out on and off the court and have a good time. We were buddies, and they would have happily accepted me as a full time member in their group. My association with some of the kids on the lower end of the hierarchy kept me from ever reaching peak popularity, and to be honest, I was okay with that (most of the time). I could be my normal geeky self around that group of people without ever having to worry if they would accept me or not. There was a lot of drama that existed with the middle school royalty, and that wasn’t something that I necessarily needed to be a part of. Now, I did say that most of the time I didn’t desire to be a part of their world, because every once in a while I would feel this overwhelming need to ditch my fellow nerdy friends aside so that I could ascend to my rightful place among the “cool” kids. Power is great. Yes, there are some negatives that you have to deal with when you have a lot of it, but in spite of this, a lot of us still long to have it. And when I started to think this, something dangerous happened…

There was another girl in my friend group who decided to start a rumor about one of the really unpopular girls in our click. I could have easily not gone a long with it because it was clearly the wrong thing to do. The right thing would have been to tell this other girl that what she wanted to do was wrong. But instead of doing this, I went along with her plans. And with that, we unleashed our web of nastiness and hatred towards this innocent girl. She didn’t deserve it, and I knew this, but I did nothing to stop it. I didn’t want to be the only one who wasn’t participating in it, so I went against everything that I believed in order to fit in. I wanted the power and the popularity, which meant that I had to be untrue to myself and my morals. I felt bad for doing something that was so out of character for me. I hurt someone in the process, and even though she eventually got over it, this is something that I’ll always have to live with.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in peer pressure, and unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier to resist once you’re older. You would think that now that you’re older you would have learned what you need to do to resist it, and while you may have the tools, they don’t always end up working out how you would want them to. I still have problems not giving in, and I’m sure that you do too. And what’s worse is that this outside pressure to conform doesn’t just come from your peers anymore. Your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances can try to get you to do things that you may not want to do, but so can people and entities that you’ve never even come into contact with. You receive messages from the media every day, and they’re not always good. They try to convince you to buy this product or to use this good just so that you can fit in. But when they ask you to do this you may end up giving up a piece of yourself.

You know who you are, and you know what you believe in, and you should always make your decisions in life based off of this. Positive thinker, don’t forget how important it is to remain true to yourself. You may not end up hurting someone else when you’re untrue to yourself, but you will definitely end up hurting yourself because of it. Don’t cause unnecessary pain for yourself. Always be your authentic self.