Peer Pressure

Hi, I’m pleased your here - let’s see what we can do to help you cope with your classmates or even friends putting pressure on you to do something or things you don’t want to do.

It can be hard, can’t it - to stand alone when others are doing something or taunting you if you don’t - or calling you names - or worse - when you want to stand your ground? It takes courage but most of all - it takes you valuing yourself enough to know that they have no power over you unless you give them power. Let’s work on this now.

First of all - who makes you feel uncomfortable? Who do you feel you need to please to either stop the taunting or be in with the ‘in’ crowd?

Close your eyes for a moment and think of that person or those people . . . and think about why do you need those people around you - or why do you care what they think of you?

Be honest with yourself. If your concern is because of how they might hurt you, that’s called bullying and you need to go to a tutor or head of year or school counsellor or another adult who you can trust, to support you and sort things out. If you go to one adult and they don’t sort it or help you to, then go to another. If all else fails, email me!

Otherwise, keep your eyes closed and just think of that person or people - why do you need them around you and why do you care what they think of you?

Is it because you are afraid of being alone, or being an outcast, or of feeling rejected, foolish or not cool - or just not knowing how to handle it?

Is it actually because you just want to be accepted, or to feel you belong, or to feel good enough, or to save yourself from the embarrassment of the name calling and looks and digs . . .

What is it for you?

Now ask yourself ’Is that person or people decent, kind, and positive?”

I can tell now that the answer must be ‘no’ because anyone who puts pressure on others like that is not any of those things. They are actually feeling insecure, inadequate and are desperately seeking some form of power to build themselves up.

If you give into them, you are feeding that. So not only do you do yourself an injustice by compromising your integrity, you actually are feeding their negativity too!

Keep your eyes closed and imagine that person or people - and ask yourself “Will I be more pleased and proud of myself if I stand up to them - or to be manipulated into making a choice I don’t want?”

Again, I know the answer is that, truth be told, you’ll feel better if you can look into your own eyes next morning and know you did what was right for you.

So, the key is in how to handle this, right?

Instead of saying nothing and take all the ‘got at’ feelings inward - which feels miserable - or try to defend your position, like “I’m not allowed” or “Leave me alone” - which feels equally miserable - just realise that when you give someone else your power you make yourself powerless which is why it feels so uncomfortable.

Instead, keeping your eyes closed, just imagine now the person or people in front of you - and imagine you had all the courage you needed - and now look them in the eye and see yourself saying - with a shrug of your shoulders - “If you were willing to accept everyone is entitled to their own choices and my choice is different to yours, what difference would that make?” or “If you were willing to accept that I don’t want to do that how would you handle that?” and just walk away, holding your head high.

When you shift the power to their accountability rather than your own in this way, you immediately take back your own power and stop giving it to them - in just one sentence.

So just see that again now . .. see yourself responding to their taunts with “If you were wiling to accept it’s my choice and I don’t want to do that, how would you handle that?” You don’t need any answer from them - you have held your own ground and power in a respectful and decent way.

If they know their taunts aren’t going to work or get to you any more, they wont bother taunting you.

Imagine yourself feeling empowered and calmly walking away and getting on with other people, or doing something that suits you . . . and notice the little smile on your face as it feels so good to know you’ve done this - taken back your power - been true to yourself. And how every time you do this you feel stronger and more confident. And notice how they bother you so much less . . .

And then open your eyes and know this is absolutely possible for you. Keep visualising this like you’ve done here, especially every night before you go to bed. Buy into this as reality.

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not let your energy be in the space of “I hope this works” because that will dampen your authenticity when you respond to those people. Be in the energy of “I am my own person” to give you that strength and courage.

Here’s the secret to being in your own power:

First, know that you count too - you have every right to be aligned with your integrity - and if someone is coming from negative space and wants to pull you down to make them feel more ok about themselves, you don’t have to facilitate that. You can know you are worth more and be true to yourself. Tell yourself constantly - every hour, every day, every week, every month - “I count too”. And put the ball back in the other persons court, so you retain your power and show them you count too.

Whatever they throw at you, turn it around, even if they say something really horrid to you! Say “I forgive you for that. I’m willing to like you.” They have nowhere to go and will soon back off if you stand firm. And you will grow in self worth and self esteem, which is the best gift you can give to yourself!

(I’ve seen this work with my own daughter. She looked her adversary in the eyes and said “I forgive you for that - I’m willing to like you”. At first she was mocked for this, but she kept saying the same thing each time and the girl soon got cross that her taunts weren’t working anymore and gave up! There is so much more power in positive energy then negative energy! We just make the negative seem powerful by giving into it! When we stop feeding that negative energy with our own fear or defence, it dissolves!)

Second - Know that being on your own is better than mixing with people who are not a reflection of who you really are. The secret here is to really connect with ‘who you really are’ rather than being ‘less than you’. If you end up temporarily having no ‘friends’ because you have stayed true to you, however miserable it might seem now to be on your own, it’s better than compromising yourself and makes space for new nice friends, who wont put pressure on you.

If you do find yourself on your own for a while, know that’s ok, and know the secret here is to build up your own self worth. I promise that the better you feel about yourself, the easier it will be for others to like you and for you to believe others like you - and the nicer the friends you will attract. Check out the self-worth link on the topics list too.

Third - And this is more important than I could ever explain here, but please trust me - Tell yourself every day, as often as possible “I approve of myself - I approve of myself - I approve of myself”

We all want approval, don't we? Yet when we look for approval from others, we need it again next week and the next, to know we are actually still good enough. So when we learn to approve of ourselves, first we are no longer needy and powerless - and second - and here’s the real rub - we actually attract more approval!

If you approve of yourself 2 out of 10 and someone gives you 8 out of 10 approval, you're not going to believe them, whereas if you approve of yourself 8 out of 10, firstly you wont need anyone else approval to know you’re good enough and secondly, you can genuinely believe them.

It does a whole load more good too, so tell yourself “I approve of myself, I approve of myself I approve of myself” - even hundreds of times every day . . . When you have a problem, like this peer pressure, you go over it at least that many times so instead, keep telling yourself “I approve of myself - I approve of myself”.

You can particularly say it to yourself when you are standing up to that peer pressure to help give you courage - or even if you are in the middle of doing something you don't approve of yourself for - because that will help bring you back on the right path.

If you’re saying “I approve of myself”, how can you do things you disapprove of? So you help value yourself - which ultimately is the key to happiness.

I do hope this has been helpful for you. Know that you do have all the courage you need to stand up to peer pressure - stand up for yourself, because your choices count too!

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