PEER PRESSURE: WHY SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T FIGHT IT

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“A time in life without a sense of self.”


When you’re growing up in school, you seek to fit into the environment of that academic space. And coincidentally enough, that space is not attaining the best grades, but more so trying to wear the latest fashion, and hang out with what is perceived to be the cool kids. And that word perception sticks out the most because your perception of each other is what’s the strongest, not the real person. Why is perception the most important, well it has to do with lack of facts. The facts that lead you into the inner workings of the real person. But who cares about facts, when you can easily makeup a perception that suits you just fine. And that is what we live by all growing up until we become adults and take on our own identities. That keeping your image together for what people think you is known as your reputation.

Now, considering your reputation proceeds you wherever you go, you work hard to keep that image in tack. But what if your image is not the image of what your peers think is acceptable for you to have in life. See, it’s easy as an adult to say, screw that, this is such a small window into the outside world, but kids don’t understand your advice. We can look at life from such a rational perspective, once you step out into the world. You have realized as an adult that no one truly cares how much swagger you have in life. You have to be able to be productive, but that built in understanding is not present in kids and teens. You can’t fully expect children to have that level of self-awareness, or that built in rejection mechanism that you get once you become adults. To them, this is your circle of friends for life. As adults we understand you may never see these individuals ever again once you graduate high school.

And not because you think you’re better than your friends, but more so, you start to out grow people’s mind frames. So the kids who were once your adversaries, eventually become people you have as associates. Now, there are those exceptions to the rule; such as the kids you just walk to the beat of their own drum. These kids are very few and far between, but they do exist. I took on the walk to my own beat after getting injured in sports. You go from, “Who is that boy that runs track and plays football so well,” to “He use to fly playing sports, oh well.” That’s when I learned people like you for what you’re doing, not necessarily because of you. So they generally gravitate toward that because we all want to be attached to something we perceive to be great, even if it’s for a short stint. Yet again, there goes that word perception; people perceived me to be great.

And in the end, that’s why fighting peer pressure is so difficult for so many young people. It’s not just the idea of wanting to not be the odd one out, but you want to be attached to something you perceive to be better than yourself. We all have this time in our lives where we want to be something other than ourselves. And once we see someone who appears to be doing anything remotely better than us, it looks appealing to us. So if the kid who has the latest sneakers growing up walks into school, we seek to be close and attach ourselves to that person. That person could potentially have a trouble home life, but they are perceived to be better because they are in a social class outside of where we see ourselves.


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