The desire to be accepted and to fit in is not just something that’s left behind in childhood. Often adults face the same worries, and even find that they have the same willingness to do things to fit in. It is important for an individual who is susceptible to peer pressure to ensure that they have surrounded themselves with positive, uplifting people. Such people will have a major influence on how the individual thinks and feels, which is a positive thing.
For example, if an individual is trying to lose weight and is unable to resist the temptation of yet another slice of cake, or is a shopaholic and is unable to cut their spending, then surrounding themselves with people who don’t share their bad habits can help them with their own self discipline.
On the other hand, it is entirely possible that an individual’s social group can have a negative influence. Instead of helping, they can hold an individual back. Peer pressure can make an individual feel like they have to keep up with the Jones’ and fall into an inauthentic lifestyle. To make matters worse, some peers can create a sense of guilt or shame when an individual is trying to make a positive change, such as trying to quit smoking or drinking.
So, how does one deal with this pressure?
When faced with important decisions, like buying a new house, or taking a new job, it is important to take some time to process what feels right to the individual. Don’t buy a huge house if it’s not the right thing for the family. The individual must decide to do what fulfills them, and not because other people think they should. Some questions to ask when making important decisions are:
- Where does the individual want their life to head?
- What activities make them feel good about themselves?
- Are they making a choice to invest in their health, wealth and happiness?
Listening to one’s body will give clues to the right decisions. If one’s body is constricted then perhaps make a different decision. The individual will know what feels right.
Being assertive in one’s responses will go a long way to making the individual feel more confident. If someone is pressuring the individual to do something unhealthy, then the individual must be assertive and say no. Hold eye contact. Don’t back down. One can even rehearse one’s response.
Throughout life there will always be someone questions one’s decisions. However, it is up to the individual to ro realize that the only thing that really matters is whether their choices support and reflect their values and not anyone else’s. The individual must learn to validate themselves and not look for it externally.
Ultimately, peer pressure exists, and everyone has to deal with it in some way, even in adulthood. As long as the individual can find the strength to remain true to their own convictions, then that is the only thing that matters.
Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.