Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure

Pressure is one of the leading reasons why people take wrong steps. Pressure can come from anywhere and anything; family, work, friends, enemies etc. When you are under pressure and you give in to that pressure you are most likely to act outside your normal self. However, pressure would not push you unless you give in first.

Recently, I had this conversation with someone who was trying to retrace his steps after losing his job. He said “I lost my job because I stole from my company and this was all because my wife kept comparing us to her friends”. He said the wife kept putting him under pressure, because she wanted their kids to attend expensive schools, use exotic cars and do holiday trips like her friends; it was like they were in a competition. He said but he couldn’t afford all these on his income so he had to start borrowing and when borrowing could not sustain his wife’s lust for expensive lifestyle, he decided to borrow (steal) from office fund. The rest is history.

It was saddening to hear him talk, especially when he explained his background and how hard he struggled to get the job, only for him to lose that same job because he couldn’t manage the pressure around him. Of course we might want to blame him or the wife, but I won’t want to go into that, I will rather leave that to The TYs Show and @onomewrites , however one thing is certain irrespective of who we blame, it still comes to the fact the someone gave in to pressure. An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.

Now, of all the causes pressure earlier listed and much more, the most “pushy” for youths is the peer pressure, i.e. pressure from people within their age group (I have been there before). This pressure can be direct or indirect and dealing with pressure often depends on the type of pressure and individuals’ mental strength.

Dealing with Peer Pressure

A. Direct Peer Pressure

Direct peer pressure can be explained as peer pressure coming directly from one’s peer; either a friend or an enemy, who is within one’s age group, status, ability or profession. Take for instance, a friend you finished school together with, who is now married asking you when you will get married? That kind of pressure could push one to “unprepared for marriage” and if not careful one will marry the wrong person. Also for instance, because one hasn’t gotten a job yet and one’s close friend who has a job calls one lazy or bullies one with money, one becomes pressured to make money by all means just to prove a point. These are examples of direct peer pressure.

How do you handle it?

1. Give space: Give as much space as possible to the particular person or group of persons putting you under pressure. This doesn’t mean you should not get in touch but ensure it is at arm’s length. It is a negative energy and staying away is the best solution. It is good to get motivated to want more but let the motivation be from within not because someone bullied you.

2. Focus on your big picture: At 25years, it is expected you have a rough idea of what you want and how you want to go about it, don’t lose sight of this. Even if your friends have taken a different route and it is working, if it doesn’t fit into your idea of living don’t do it. Running one’s race on another man’s time would only cause untimely end to one’s race. Focusing on your big picture makes it difficult to be carried away by peer pressure.

3. Don’t try to satisfy anyone at your own expense: You know what, playing the hero is for movies and story books, in reality you don’t put others before yourself. If you keep this in mind when friends pressure you, the first thing you consider is “how does this affect me, my personal plans and my future?”. Then you will be able to make an informed decision.

B. Indirect Peer Pressure

Peer pressure becomes indirect when no one is hipping it on you but yourself. Indirect peer pressure is self inflicted and this is more dangerous. You can easily walk away from a direct peer pressure but an indirect peer pressure requires winning the battle from within. For instance, after a long thought of how other friends and school mates have succeeded, one finally concludes one is the worst and then decides it is suicide time. This isn’t a pressure from anyone, it is just you. Or A man who feels he is too quiet, he wants to be loud and lively like his friends so he turned to hard drugs to get the ginger. Self inflicted peer pressure.

How do you handle it?

1. Pray: As much as I don’t want to sound spiritual in this matter, the spiritual facts cannot be denied. Our thoughts are meant to be guided and the only guide we can get is by screening what we allow in, as simple as words can put this, in practice it is not all that simple. It takes a high-level of spiritual discipline once you realize you are under this kind of pressure. So yes! Pray because that’s all the spiritual I know.

2. Win the mind battle: Indirect peer pressure like I said is more of a mind thing, so you have to win that Battle to have a clear mind. You may have to do affirmations or speak reassuring words to make you keep believing in yourself, because without self believe this battle is already lost. The truth is, others would have what you think you deserve and one could easily be tempted to compare and do the unimaginable but when you believe in yourself and you are ready to trust the process, you would find reasons to wait for your own time.

3. Talk to Someone: A therapist, a mentor, a godfather talk to someone who is older or more experienced when you are caught up with indirect peer pressure, this would save you from ruining your life. In fact, talking to people is not only going to help you with better decisions, it would also help unburdening your soul and spirit. You would also learn from their mistakes in similar situations. Please don’t underestimate how far seeking counsel can help.

Above all, LEARN TO SAY NO! Don’t be too shy to reject what you don’t want. Use the word “NO” as often as it is required. Whether someone is trying to influence you, persuade you or even when it is your thoughts playing tricks on you, let your NO be resounding. When it seems everyone else is heading that way, if it doesn’t work with your plan(s), pull out and let everyone know you have made your choice.

We are who we are and we got here being ourselves. Even if there are reasons to be different, they should be about improving on who we are. We would always have many questions and there would always be lots of options, but we best be wise in choosing. Don’t get pushed, don’t get pressured because when you fall, it is going to be big and it is going to be only you!

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