Dealing with peer pressure
Dealing with peer pressure
We live in a world of myriads of opinions. Everyone has an opinion about almost everything and everyone. But only a fraction of those people actually care about or understand the person or thing they have an opinion about.
A video was posted to YouTube of a guy who went around with an old Iphone just before a new iPhone model was meant to come out. He met different Iphone users on the street and lied to them that it was the new model. He then compelled them to compare it with their current phone and decide which was better. Most of them complemented the phone, claiming that it was faster and better than theirs only to later be told that it was the same exact phone.
This shows how quick a lot of people can be to conclude and make an opinion about something they don’t know of have really researched.
On earth, the most relevant opinions around us are the opinions of those who really care about us like our families, loved ones, spouses, close friends and the like. But over and more important than all is Gods’s opinion about us and we find his opinion in his word.
Today on social media, we see people that feed their self esteem solely off the opinions of people and this can be dangerous as it can build a constant invisible cloud of pressure over their heads.
They can begin to limit their lives to a bubble, live in desperation, exaggerate situations, live in perpetual anxiety all because they have given so much relevance to the opinions of too many people. The bible says in Proverbs 18:24 that ‘a man of too many friends may come to ruin but there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother’. This clearly shows us the wisdom in picking quality opinions over a huge quantity of opinions.
The desire to be validated in society is a major reason many conform to peer pressure and that desire is regulated by Self Esteem. Self Esteem is influenced by a lot of factors ranging from money, appearance, popularity, family background, influence and more. Generally, people with more Self Esteem tend to lead or influence others who have seem to have a lower self esteem but the standards by which popular culture appropriates self esteem is totally backward, un-transparent, ignorant and unstable. The rat race for quick fame, quick money and instant gratification is full of a lot of fakeness as the image a lot of people portray publicly is different from their reality behind the scenes.
Now don’t get it twisted, there is nothing wrong in working or using our minds and talents to create things and ideas than can bring wealth, influence and exposure as ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above , coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)’ and the bible says ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers (3 John 2)’ but the question is does that material success define us and our self esteem? No matter how much success a human being has, the natural human mind can always pick out something that someone has more of or someone who is more successful in another area so basing your self esteem on natural things can never truly satisfy the human desire to be worth something. Jesus said in Luke 12:15, ‘A mans’ life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses (KJV 2000)’
Our worth has to be based on something beyond us, something supernatural, someone divine, Our father God, who created us in perfect detail and knows the exact reason we where sent to earth and loves us unconditionally regardless of our sins, mistakes and weaknesses. God’s opinion is the only thing that can handle the deep longing of a human being’s self worth and his opinion is in his word. If you are a believer and have a personal relationship with God, God has accepted you into his family (Ephesians 1:6) , he has made you worthy (1 Corinthians 1:30) , he has validated you (2 Corinthians 5:21) , literally adopted you into his lineage (Romans 8:15) , paid the price for your victory over any bad habit or weakness (Galatians 5:24) , given you access to an actual inheritance (Colossians 1:12) through Jesus Christ all in a love that is literally beyond your understanding (Ephesians 3:19) all for free (Romans 11:6). Now that should be the most relevant opinion in your life. Spiritual things are understood spiritually and as you study and meditate on this opinion it will become a living reality in you.
Now for younger people such as teenagers the peer pressure realities you face may be different but having a mind of your own and taking responsibility in life at an early age is very important and will help you start building your future quicker than your friends who only realise things at a later age. Standing for what you believe in might be an unpopular way of doing things at first but with time people will notice your resilience , begin to flock around and gain confidence to take a stand for what they truly want. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the pressure to impress and make it fast is a mirage. True greatness is not built in a day. Bungalow Houses only need a shallow foundation and can be built quickly because the buildings have little height and depth but skyscrapers require a really deep foundation and require more time, patience, detail and resources to build because they have huge height, depth and stand out for the world to see.
As for pressure to conform to any negative culture or habit, it’s all about knowing and being sure of your identity. It is because of lack of Identity that many conform to peer pressure in search of identity and validation. I myself was a victim of that in junior secondary school until I had an encounter with God that transformed my life and gave me a true identity. It is only the identity from God that can truly transform, satisfy and give purpose to any life.
If you do not know God, put aside any negative opinions you have heard of him, open your heart to him, seek him from your heart and you will find him. He will bring out the true purpose of your life and as you keep his opinion first, followed by the opinions of the family, loved ones, and close friends that he has blessed you with you will see yourself soaring in life above any form of pressure and being a true leader and positive influence to many. May God do so and bless you as you have read this article. Amen.