“I think therefore I am.”
To live in a world where you chant it; but, to have it mean nothing is a painful irony. Yet, it’s truer today than ever before.
Even though we are in control of our thoughts, we aren’t. Not really. We have adopted a certain amount of docility to the fact that ideas are being fed to us, and it all begins in that awkward phase of adolescence - that part of our lives that we all would like to forget!
Peer pressure is something everyone simultaneously wants to rise above, but it is also complicit in perpetuating it. When everyone is living a certain life around you, it’s hard to imagine a life that looks different. During adolescence, peers play a significant part in a young person’s life, and the role of the family diminishes. It’s a fact of life. Teens and preteens are drastically more influenced by their peers than by their parents. From sports to social media, they’re under constant pressure to do what their friends are doing. Societal peer pressure to conform runs high. But, young people must learn to think and act for themselves rather than be under the influence of groupthink. It is only then that they can begin to make more effective choices.
This is hard to do considering teenagers feel the pressure to be accepted into groups and have friends. And yet at a time like that, the most important relationship is one that is fostered with oneself. Granted, adolescent friendships are key to growing up. Yet, one must know when to put their foot down and stand up for what they truly believe in, even if it leaves them lonely. It is important to remember that being alone in a crowd is worse and that at least when you stand up for yourself, you have yourself.
Self-reliance is thus a significant quality to living a life as an adult. Furthermore, friends amongst whom you feel pressure to fit in, aren’t your friends at all. People like that aren’t worth the trouble at all.
Here are several points to consider:
- Always believe in yourself. You do not have to please anyone to hang out with them.
- Know your own ideas for what you think is right and wrong. Don’t indulge in things that do not align with your own values.
- Talk to people who love you unconditionally, like your parents and siblings.
- Don’t be afraid to spend time alone. All your relationships stem from the one you have with yourself.
I strongly feel that while growing up amidst peer pressure and notions of what society wants you to be, as against, what you think you should do, it is extremely important to surround yourself with good, understanding, amazing people who genuinely love you for who you are. It is the ability to withstand peer pressure and adhere to one's values and the esteemed teachings of our Maula TUS which translate to the backbone necessary for a successful lifelong relationship with others and ourselves.
Maria Hussain is a Wellness Consultant, Transformational Coach and Relationship Expert.