The desire to fit in with others is a part of human nature. Many of us face pressure to please those around us instead of doing what is best for ourselves. No matter your age or place in life, in all likelihood you will face certain instances of peer pressure. For example, teens often face pressures like drinking heavily at a party, or bullying others in order to gain popularity. Adults may face different pressures from their friends such as pressure to marry their significant other before they are ready due to societal expectations of what a relationship timeline should look like.
This being said, it is important to know how to stand up for yourself and ultimately get rid of the pressure to do something that you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with. We can go through our entire lives doing things with the sole purpose to please our family, friends, or even society overall. Sometimes we don’t even realize that this is a large part of the motivation behind our actions.
In this sense, we can lack independence in our own lives if we don’t learn to deal with the problem properly. Take a look at the following tips for getting rid of peer pressure in order to free yourself from the constraints and troubles it can cause you.
1. Learn why you give in to pressures so easily.
Many of us give in to pressures without thinking very deeply about the reason why we surrendered so easily in the first place. In most cases, people give in to peer pressure because they want to please people. Individuals have a natural desire to be well liked, have lots of friends, and feel included. For these reasons, it can seem scary to do something that goes against what others may want you to do.
It is important, however, to remind yourself why it is that you value the opinions of others so heavily. It could be a self-esteem issue, a loneliness issue, or merely a case of not knowing what you want well enough.
Ponder this for a moment, and try your best to pinpoint what may be the cause of your current feeling of defeat when it comes to peer pressure. Knowing the problem is the first step to finding a proper solution.
2. Know who you are and where you draw the line.
Getting to know yourself can take an entire lifetime. However, it is very important to discover and remind yourself of what it is you believe in, what is important to you, and what you are and are not willing to do.
Take a moment each day to remind yourself of these things, and stand behind them completely. Set yourself some boundaries.
Believing in yourself is key to avoiding peer pressure, as people who are unsure about what they stand for can be far too easily influenced by others.
In high-pressure situations, it can be difficult comprehend your true feelings when you are so focused on pleasing others around you. Practicing the skill of reminding yourself who you are takes time. However, it is a very important ability to have when it comes to avoiding situations involving peer pressure.
3. Evaluate your relationships.
If you find yourself surrounded by people who make you feel like you must suppress who you are, you may want to consider removing yourself from this specific person or group of people.
Ask yourself these questions: Can I be myself around these people? Do these people accept me for who I am? Do they have my best interest in mind? If the answer is “no” to at least one of these questions, it may be necessary to step away. This may seem like a difficult option, but it will highly benefit you in the long run.
It is important to realize who is worth looking up to. Surrounding yourself with positive influences who accept you for who you are can do wonders for your self-confidence.
4. Learn how to say no.
Saying “no” sounds like a simple enough task. However, in certain situations it can feel next to impossible.
In order to practice the skill of saying no, start out with easy, low pressure situations. The more you say it, the more comfortable it will begin to feel. Soon enough, you will be able to say no to almost any degree of negative pressure.
It also helps to remind yourself of the reasons why you are saying no. Reminding yourself of the reasons behind the simple statement, saying things like “I don’t feel comfortable, this isn’t healthy for me,” and others like it will help you feel motivated to say no like you mean it. And hopefully you will mean it!
5. Love and respect yourself.
Having self-respect means everything when it comes to standing up for what you believe in.
If anyone makes you feel down on yourself, make it a regular practice to write down all of the things that you like about yourself. You will be surprised how writing these things down on paper will lift your self-esteem.
Have the same respect for yourself that you would want others to have for you can also go a long way. Individuals can pick-up on other people’s level of self-confidence and tend to naturally respect those who demonstrate respect for themselves.
Getting rid of peer pressure is not at all easy, especially if you are the type of person who places substantial value on pleasing others. It can be difficult to understand why our peers so easily influence us, but getting to the root of the issue is the first step toward making a change. Knowing and respecting who you are is an extremely important part of being able to stand up for yourself. Replacing damaging influences with positive ones is key to avoiding unnecessary negative pressures. Also, learning how to say “no” can save you from a world of trouble. Remember that you have the capacity to make your own decisions in life. If you believe in yourself enough, no amount of peer pressure will ever be able to shake you. Good luck!