How To Be Immune To Peer Pressure
HOW TO BE IMMUNE TO PEER PRESSURE
Without a doubt the main question that I get asked by people is if I have any advice on how to follow the diet and lifestyle that I recommend in social situations, and how to deal with family, friends, and co-workers who aren't supportive of their decision to change their life for the better and who want to tempt them back to the "dark side"...
So I felt that it would be a good idea to devote a chapter to talking about "peer pressure" and how to become immune to it...
1. PEER PRESSURE TO HAVE MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
Some people end up going through life with "Multiple Personalities" and will behave very differently around different people.
An example of this would be a man who has a very "Family Friendly" vocabulary and sense of humor when he is at home with his wife and kids, but when he goes to work and is with his male co-workers virtually everything that he says and does would be completely unacceptable behavior when he is at home. The 2 personalities that he displays are so radically different that it makes you wonder which one is the real one, or if neither of them are genuine and he simply behaves however he feels will result in acceptance.
Do you have an authentic personality that you use no matter who you are with?
If not then I encourage you to make it a point to start catching yourself whenever you suddenly feel the need to start talking or acting differently because of who just walked in the room, and practice being yourself in all situations.
I also encourage you to ask yourself if you really want "acceptance" in life? (Other words for "acceptable" include, "OK", "All Right", and "Passable".)
So if you want more than mere "acceptance" in life make a list of the people who you admire and look up to the most and you will have a list of unique individuals who didn't try to "fit in" with the rest of society.
People will try very hard to make you conform and be more like everyone else, and some may even despise you for being different early on, but in the end it is the people who are strong enough to to be themselves who are the most respected, because people respect strength and not weakness.
And even if people don't agree with your beliefs or your actions many will still admire your courage and the fact that you are so open and honest about how you feel, and ultimately it will lead to you finding like-minded people who genuinely like you for who you really are.
2. PEER PRESSURE TO ATTEND SOCIAL EVENTS
When people open up their mailbox and find an invitation to go to a someone's wedding, graduation, or baby shower, these "invitations" are actually "obligations" for many people, because they would be too afraid to simply say, "No thank you" even if they really don't want to go to these things...
Personally, I look at invitations like these as "Spam" and simply ignore them.
So often people will say things to me like, "I recently went vegan, but I'm worried about what will happen when I go to my parent's house on Thanksgiving and everyone else is eating turkey." or "I'm trying to avoid alcohol, but I'm worried about what will happen when I go to my cousin's wedding next month and everyone else is drinking."
If social events are really problematic for you (or if you are an "introvert" and you dread having to go to these kinds of things) I want to tell you that you're not alone and you have every right not to go.
If you are too uncomfortable to simply say "No thank you" to people and you feel the need to have a really good excuse to get out of going to something, then I encourage you to just tell everyone that you have to "work" that day...
And keep in mind that even if you don't actually have to go to work that day it's not a lie to say that you will be working if you are an artist and you are going to be working on a creative project, or if you are on a health journey and you are going to be working on your personal self development by exercising or reading a self-help book.
Just because you aren't getting a paycheck to do yoga or to work on a creative masterpiece it doesn't make the work that you are doing any less important than the work that you would be doing if you were working at a grocery store or an office somewhere. (And if you would like to someday earn a paycheck by doing what you love then you should take what you love seriously and not think of it as merely a "hobby".)
If it seems "selfish" to want to do your own thing, I want you to stop for a moment and think about your favorite musician, actor, or athlete, and imagine all of the sacrifices that they have probably made over the years in order to work on their craft. (Including missing countless social events that they were invited to.)
3. PEER PRESSURE TO FOLLOW TRADITIONS
Although some of the holidays started off as very well meaning concepts, over the years they have almost all evolved into nothing more than a time when everyone is encouraged to over-eat and over-spend. (And some of the holidays have degenerated into nothing more than a day when everyone is encouraged to get drunk.)
If you don't believe me when I say that holidays can be destructive please consider the following...
- There are more heart attacks on "Thanksgiving" than any other day of the year.
- There are more drunk driving fatalities on "New Years Day" than any other day of the year.
- There are more cases of depression during the "Holiday Season" than at any other time of the year.
Maybe some of the holidays should be renamed...
- Maybe "Thanksgiving" should be renamed "National Heart Attack Day".
- Maybe "New Years Day" should be renamed "National Drunk Driving Day".
- Maybe "The Holiday Season" should be renamed "The Season of Despair".
A holiday is in reality no different than any other day, but we are all pressured to follow traditions and to look at certain days as special and others days as not special...
- If it was your dream to win the lottery someday and become a millionaire you probably wouldn't wait until next year on January 1st to start buying lottery tickets, and if it is your dream to look in the mirror someday and see a fit person looking back at you shouldn't put off starting a workout program until "New Years Day".
- If you want to do something nice for someone that you are in love with, why not practice spontaneity by doing something nice for them when they are not expecting it rather than wait until it's a holiday and there is an unwritten rule that you have to do something nice for them that day or else they will get upset and might even break up with you?
- If you find yourself counting down the days until "Christmas" I encourage you to instead live as if the days that are left until "Christmas" are the only days that you had left to live, and celebrate "life" it's self!
4. PEER PRESSURE TO SMOKE, DRINK, AND DO DRUGS
Although I believe in the freedom of personal choice, if you are smoking while pregnant, driving while drunk, or taking dangerous drugs while you are being looked up to as a "role model" by young and impressionable people it is no longer a "personal choice".
And even if you are not harming anyone else by consuming harmful substances, the fact that you are on this website suggests that you are wanting to get healthy, and nobody who wants to be healthy would purposely fill their body with massive amounts of toxins in an attempt to become "Intoxicated".
The average child is warned over 10,000 times about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, but due to "peer pressure" few kids make it to adulthood without trying them anyways. The first time they try these things their bodies will immediately reject them through coughing, vomiting, and sickness to let them know that it simply can't handle these things, but because of "peer pressure" they decide to try these things again, and again, and again, until they eventually build up a tolerance (As well as an addiction) to them.
I was fortunate at a young age to have met a lot of people who's main goal in life was simply to stop drinking, or to stop smoking, or to finally get off of the drugs had destroyed their life, so I feel incredibly blessed to be able to say that I've never smoked, drank, or did drugs, and for anyone out there feeling pressured to do these things I would just like to remind you that your body is the only possession that you have that you are guaranteed to own for the rest of your life, so please take good care of it.
5. PEER PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED
In some parts of the world "Arranged Marriages" are still practiced, and although the idea of letting your parents decide who you will marry might sound "extreme" to most of us, the fact is that "Arranged Marriages" are still happening in every country of the world, but they are mostly happening through "peer pressure"...
Many couples out there decide to get married simply because they are afraid of how their parents would react if they were living together or had children together and weren't married first. And some couples are too afraid to get married (or even date each other publicly) simply because they are a different race, age, or religion and they worry that their family, friends, or society will be outraged if they ever find out about it.
Couples also feel pressured to have a really expensive wedding!
In the past weddings cost virtually nothing, but in recent years weddings have become yet another example of how corporations have found ways to charge people money for one of life's most basic experiences (like falling in love) and they have done this by convincing people that the ultimate "symbol of love" is spending a fortune on their wedding.
So often when I hear people talking about weddings these days the price of the wedding is "somehow" public knowledge and it tends the main focal point. (People will be discussing the $80,000 wedding their co-worker recently had or the $12,000,000 wedding that a famous celebrity is about to have, and the fact that the number one cause of divorce these days is "financial difficulties" should make new couples stop and reconsider following this trend.)
If you are thinking about getting married I would encourage you to only do it if getting married is something that you strongly believe in, and not to do it simply because it is the social norm. And before you decide to have a really expensive wedding consider what else you could do with all that money. (The average wedding is expensive enough that the couple could afford to travel and see the world. (Which would probably result in a lot more memories than a more expensive wedding could provide.)
6. PEER PRESSURE TO HAVE A CERTAIN JOB
If you asked 100 children right before their first day of school what they wanted to be when they grew up you would probably get a lot of answers such as, "An astronaut", "The President", or even "A Super Hero", but if you asked those same kids on the day they graduated High School what they wanted to do with their life you would likely find that most of them have given up on their childhood dreams due to all of the limiting beliefs that they were taught in school.
Up until around age 5 a child's mind is like a sponge that will absorb any new and interesting information that it gets exposed to, and children will literally ask hundreds of questions a day because of how curious they are about the world around them. But then they are forced to start going to school and once this happens their incredible love for learning quickly dissolves.
College can be beneficial to those who are there because they genuinely want to be there, but a lot of people feel pressured to go because their parents have been saving for their college education since they were babies, or because they fear that they will be seen as losers if they don't go.
I am not encouraging you to not get an education. Far from it. I am encouraging you to get a powerful education by regaining the natural curiosity and love for learning that you once had as a young child.
Please get a library card and use it, listen to educational audio books, and start using the internet as the powerful learning tool that it can be. Get into "minimalism" so that you will have less bills and more free time to pursure your interests, and find ways to use your unique abilities to provide "service to others".