As children, your peers were likely close to your age, but as adults, they’re usually people who have similar backgrounds, social statuses, lifestyles, or abilities, regardless of age.
Peer pressure occurs when you’re influenced to adopt views, goals, or behaviors matching your peer group.
We often think of teenagers when we hear “peer pressure” because those developmental years lend themselves to trying to belong and fit in.
An elderly nun taught high school calculus. Many students called her Tobor—robot spelled backward. (I never understood that reference; she seemed frail and aged, not robotic.) One day, when she left the classroom, some students decided it would be fun to leave and hide until the next class period bell rang. I was uncomfortable with the prank. It was wrong and mean-spirited, and in my internal conflict—choosing to stay in the room, and in essence, “rat out” fellow classmates or succumb to the majority’s mindset—I failed. I left like everyone else, yielding to peer pressure.
As adults, we’re still susceptible to peer pressure. It doesn’t go away; it merely “grows up,” reframed as social pressure—it’s the same issue wearing a different label.
We start believing that to “fit in,” we have to think, speak, and behave like our peers. We experience a tug-of-war between being unique, valuable individuals, and being accepted and respected in our group. Adult peer pressure can influence what we wear, the cars we drive, where we stand politically, the religion we ascribe to, even the way we view and treat people “different” from us.
We, sometimes, paint our self-portraits
with a palette of other people’s ideas
rather than being who we are.
A thirteen-year-old girl says, “I’ll never wear this shirt again, the other girls said it’s ugly.” A seven-year-old boy insists he needs the newest electronic game because “everyone else has it!” Like them, we sometimes lose sight of what we truly want, need, or desire just to fit in.
I have an adversity to violence, eliminating many popular television shows and movies. I don’t “process” it the way most people must, so I simply don’t subject my spirit to it. Even when I’m told “it’s about good triumphing over evil,” or “it’s part of life’s reality,” I simply say “no,” instead of folding under pressure.
Don’t allow another person to lower your standards, dictate how you live, or insist you need to conform to fit in. Listen to your inner voice; follow that guidance. Don’t give up your unique identity, or ever believe that where you came from determines where you can go! And, don’t forget that, just like in high school, adults can be bullies too—don’t be one, don’t be intimidated by one.
Finally, analyze relationships—if you’re copying others’ behaviors to “fit in” or keep creating excuses for why you don’t want to do something, consider making new connections with people whose energy resonates with yours. You’re awesome just as you are (really!) and you deserve to live into your highest self!
©peace full home.com®/intentional living, 2013-2020.