Introduction.

Hello everyone, I hope you are all having a great day. I am writing this blog to help anyone of you who are going through a season of peer pressure. Before I start I would like to encourage you to be ready to receive in your minds and hearts and understand that whatever your situation you are in, this post is to encourage and help you live a better, victorious and happy life. Before I continue I wanted to ask you a question. Have you ever found yourself in a position where you were under a lot of peer pressure to do certain things? Perhaps you found yourself doing something that you shouldn’t have been doing and thus ended up regretting what you did or worse you found yourself in a situation where you or someone else got hurt? Well, I am sure we have all found ourselves in the situations described above and I am here to give you some solutions that will help you.

What is peer pressure?

In this post we will be talking about peer pressure when it comes to young people: this includes teenagers and children. However, before we go on any further lets us define what peer pressure is? Someone of you that are reading this know deep down what it is because you have experienced it one way or the other. You might describe it as doing something that should not be done even though other people are doing it. Some of you might describe it as going against your own conscience in doing something that might not be right for you but you do it because you feel pressured and are influenced by the peers around you to do it so you can be part of the group; and for some of you it is so that you feel okay about yourself because you don’t really know who you are. As you have noticed almost of all these definitions have to do with the influence that comes from those around us which causes us to fall under peer pressure. These could be our friends and family. It could be your best friend, your brothers or sisters or a person you are not close to like bully.

Those you are around the most are your biggest influence.

Your friends are an important influence in your life. They have an influence on your behaviour, the decisions you make, and the vision that you have for your life, how you think and many more. You might not agree with this but it is the truth and whether you are aware of it or not, they either impact you positively or negatively and it is thus important to detect and identify those that influence you in both ways. If it is negative peer pressure we learn how to deal with it effectively and if it is positive peer pressure we can see how we can be benefited to it, whether we get involved in it or not. For instance in terms of negative peer pressure: this could be the pressure to agree and conform to certain acts which bring about an illusion of what you or those around you deem and regard as respectful; or as a way to be accepted or rather so that you can be part of the group. For example the pressure of lying, stealing, cheating in exams, disrespecting your parents because your friends do it; disrespecting and interrogating the senior members of our community; drinking alcohol, to have sex, to date at an inappropriate age, participating in taking drugs, starving yourself to loss weight, reckless driving and many more might be some or more of the things that you might have planned not to do but because of those around you are doing or have convinced you that it is right especially if everybody is doing it; it starts to become your standard and does not play against your conscience anymore. Having friends or those close to us that are involved in such acts as described above, open the door of negative influence to you and me because it might be something you might never do had you not been pressured into it by those around you whether it is direct or indirect.

Positive Peer pressure

Before we go on any further I would to take this time to talk about the positive side of peer pressure. This is where you can influence those around you in a positive way and have right attitudes towards certain things which help improve the life of others around you as well as our society. For example, when you make the right decisions in your life such as choosing to volunteer for a charity, community or hospital; telling the truth, respecting the elders of our community; choosing to excel in their academics, choosing to not to drink drive or to have sex at an age that is not appropriate or if you are not married; can impact those around you to want do the same thing which will benefit them and the community they are in. I am sure that you have some friends around you that are termed as a “goodie” “goodie’s” by others because they do not engage in certain behaviours or have particular and specific morals that convict you or come against what you believe. And I am sure you’ve noticed that they are honoured in a positive way in your schools, by the communities even with other parents; and you have also noticed that they also make great decisions that help them to move forward in achieve great things that deep down you would like to achieve. These people are not better than you, but they are just making a positive influence on each other and other peers around you in a positive not negative way by not giving into the peer pressure that you might have gone through or are going through. They are looked down upon by those who a living a mediocre life (a life of making wrong decisions) but really it is because they have overcome negative peer pressure.

Examples of peer pressure?

So for we have discussed two types of peer pressure which are: positive and negative pressures. Instead of influencing others negatively, we can focus on influencing others positively to help better our society. In this paragraph we will introduce to you two types of peer pressure. The first one is called “spoken peer pressure”. This is where peer pressure is referred to as “direct peer pressure”, where a group of people or where a person confronts someone: this could be you or a friend that you know) that is taunted to join an activity that goes against what you believe; know is right or that goes against your conscience. This can make you feel like you are not part of the group if you are not joining in on that act; you might feel like you don’t fit in; or you are not good enough and not cool enough to join in. However, an example of positive direct peer pressure is when perhaps a student openly chooses not join in bullying someone else, but encourages those in on the act to act kindly towards the individual or a particular group. This shows us that positive peer pressure is more than identifying what is right, but it is also active in demonstrating that belief: whether it is by doing or not doing that thing or encouraging others to do or not to do something. They have grown to a point focusing on doing what is right and excellent for themselves and others rather than focusing on what others might think if they go against their wrong behaviour.

The second one is referred to as “indirect” or “unspoken” peer pressure which involves unspoken messages that you might receive from those around you. For example a bunch of what some might call cool kids might dress in a certain way. This could be that they wear designer clothes, listen to certain music, or behave in a certain way. And for girls it could be wearing makeup, or the size of others or the attention they get from the opposite sex that might make you feel like you are not pretty or good enough, which causes you to feel and do certain things. One might feel like they are not part of the group while others might copy those individuals to be part of the group and will lose themselves in the process even though those who are the peer influencers have not said a word to that particular individual. This suggests that indirect peer pressure is ignited further by the insecurity of that individual. An example of this is a girl who has low self-esteem and therefore might feel pressured to have a boyfriend (in order to receive the value and love that only stems from our parents which she might not have receive and thus unknowingly craves) after seeing her peers receive the attention from the opposite sex that she desires to receive thinking it will give her value. Some girls and women fall under the pressure of having sex with their boyfriends irrespective of what their conscience tells them in order to feel loved or to keep that boyfriend around.

You are responsible at the decisions you make?

So far we have pretty much been defining different types of peer pressures from a positive and negative stand points. However, I want to point out something that will benefit you tremendously and that is your responsibility in the whole process. The truth is peer pressure comes to everyone but it is how you handle it that matters. For some of us because we don’t know who we are, we fall under the pressure of others to become like them without realising that. Others might be the ones that influence you without knowing that they are influencing you in a negative way because they themselves are under the same predicament as you.

You have a choice to make. You have a will.

The truth is that you have a choice and do not have to engage in any behaviour that goes against your conscience, rules or guidelines that have been put in place to protect. There’s only so much blaming we can place on others so the wrong decisions we make, in blaming others for our wrong choices. You have a choice and a will and are thus required to making the right choices that will benefit you and others around you for the better. For example if you are required to smoke, or engage in a sexual activity that you are not ready for or you know that deep down is not something you want to engage in because you are not married, or are too young or that leads you further to the temptation you are trying to stay away from; then recognise that that is a warning, you are being pressured into something that perhaps is not for you. This is where you see that there is a choice for you to make. This is where you are represented with a choice and a will that will help you to make the right choice which would be not to engage in that particular act if you know in your conscience is not right for you.

Another way to consider this is realise you have a destiny, there’s a great life out there for you that can be hindered by the decisions that you make. For example a young man might have a bright future ahead of him in politics but misses out on that opportunity because he has engaged in gang crime or drug abuse and has thus been put away in prison for a while or for a long time. He not only misses out on the opportunities ahead of him; but also in developing as a young person as well as the person that he once saw himself become in the future. He could miss out on his dreams, visions, goals and purpose which is not life at all. Falling under peer pressure is not something we should feel sorry for ourselves about nor should we take it lightly because you have a purpose in life that needs to be fulfilled and without that in your life, you will not be fully fulfilled and as happy as you could be had you lived in your purpose. So tackling negative peer pressure is something that should be taken seriously for your own good, for the good of others and also for the good for your own future.

How I can make the right decision.

So at the point you are probably wondering how can I make the right decisions and why. You are probably wondering on which account you can make the right decisions. Before I answer this questions I would like to examine the different ways we can base our wisdom and knowledge. For example the wisdom and ideals of this world are the same ways in which the negative peer pressure comes from. In the world we are advised to engage in sexual activities at an early age and before marriage, society might influence young people to date or drink at an inappropriate age but this wisdom is quite dangerous in that it leads a lot of young people in the wrong path such as alcoholism, addictions, teen pregnancies and many more. I am not bashing society at all because our society has contributed a lot to the growth of young people however this wisdom and knowledge came from that of men and women who depended on their own wisdom which is in itself not strong enough if it is not based on someone much greater than ourselves. This implies that we need greater wisdom from someone greater than ourselves.

Try the wisdom and the knowledge of God

It is my pressure to introduce you to a new wisdom that perhaps you have not considered. This is a wisdom and knowledge that is infallible and always true. It will guide you in the mist of all the peer pressure you face or go through. The word of God is your answer to everything and to your success. The bible says in Psalms 27:1:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?”

Therefore with God on our side we need not fear each other or what is to come because we have the right, infallible wisdom that will always direct us. This shows that your relationship with God is your everything; your answer to the confusion you face; your wisdom to making the decisions regarding any thing you need to do. This includes your studies, your relationships: with your parents, boyfriend, girlfriends, friends and siblings, drinking, money sex and many more. When you follow the lord in his light which is his word through Jesus Christ you can have a life of peace and joy that will enable you to live victorious happy good which we are all after. This is supported by the further scripture that shows you that knowing Gods word and allowing it to lead you personally is your only chance to scamming such pressures of this world and decisions that without your love and relationship for him you will full under the pressure. This is proven in psalms 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” The wisdom of God is better than that of men and society. It overrides the wisdom of anything and anybody. God’s wisdom is for your protection and it is to help you and is for your own God. So this is the ultimate answer to the foolish, wrong decision we make. We see how big our God is further in 1 Corinthian 3:10:

“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness. And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.”

You see from this scripture that God is wiser than all humanity for he made humanity and his knowledge and wisdom surpasses them all. That the wisdom of this world is foolishness and meaningless to God because it does not always make sense and at times put many of us into trouble so to God it is foolishness whereas his wisdom is ever true and right. So I encourage you to be around those who live the life of Jesus Christ and are followers of them. Those who do the word of God and are pushing you closer to him in all your decision.

 

Choose who you basis your decisions on.

The thing to recognise is to use the word of God (the bible) as your standard. Some advice I will give you is that it helps to also listen to your parents. They have gone through the process and when they advise you against going to that party or advise you against lying and many more is because it is not good for you in the long run. Recognise the godly standards that Gods has placed in his word and in your heart especially in your conscience. There’s a knowing that can help you to make the right decision. For example when your conscience is against you cheating in an exam or someone, drinking, smoking, taking drugs or an activity of some sort even though your friends are doing so then it is wise for you to not engage in that activity as it is going to work out for your own good in the long run.

 

Furthermore, in Ephesians 5:18 we are advised: not “be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” This scripture shows us that we are to be filled with the spirit of God who comes to live in us, in you and in me when you receive Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour. When you accept that Jesus Christ died for you and came to give you eternal life of God you receive almighty God to live in you for it is his desire and will to do so. That way we are led by him and it is the evidence that we have the life of God in us. With God in you he can lead you in his word and his wisdom and if done you will succeed and never fail. There are certain things the bible does not talk about but with your personal relationship with the Holy Spirit in you, you can be led through peer pressure and overcome it and impact and influence others to do so as well.

There’s perfect friend.

Finally, I invite you to make Jesus your friend. For he loves you and wants the best for you which is for you to have a personal relationship with God and have his spirit in you. God desires to guide you and help you and it is only through his word and spirit that that can be done. So I encourage you to receive him now and raise above the peer pressure of our society and nations and that we might receive from our friends and those around us. Jesus is the perfect friend. For those of us that already have Jesus in our lives; let us leave according to the words he spoke. His said in John 6:63 that “the words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” This means that his words have the power to help us make the right decisions in life and live a life of goodness, joy and ever-lasting success.

Have a great day and I hope this article has helped you. Send this article to all your friends and everyone else who needs it. Thank you.

Love Sarah

Written by Sarah Kiki Nyanzi

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