I’m sure at one point in your life you heard some authority figure ask you if you would drop off a bridge if your friends would. We all quickly say no, but that’s an extreme that we’d rarely encounter. More commonly friends ask us to compromise our morals and our values in the subtlest ways, telling you to skip class just this once, or suggesting that you lie to your parents to get out of a bad situation. You’d think it’d be easy to say no, but you might worry that if you say no you won’t be as cool to them, or that you’d be made fun of…so you give in just this once. But it’s never once. Giving into peer pressure creates a crack in the foundation that can easily spread, but it’s not the end of the world. You still have the power to say no.
Saying no is the most powerful word in every language. Those two little letters command more respect than most want to acknowledge because it gives you the responsibility of making your own decisions. Sometimes we get in the habit of putting others feelings and others wants in front of our own. But compromising your values only hurt you. We also have to recognize the consequences to saying yes, and see if we really want to put ourselves in that situation. We get so caught up in the status quo, that we forget our own importance. Sometimes we forget that in order to be true to others, we have to be true to our values and ourselves. It is okay to put yourself first.
The aftermath can be hard as well. We are struck with guilt and wonder what would have happened if we did say yes. At this point in time, you have to trust that you did what is best for YOU. I promise, saying no is not the end of the world, although it may seem like it at the time. Those that truly care about your best interest will fully respect your decision, because in the long run they will support what makes you happy.
Peer pressure will always be a part of our world, whether it’s in high school or a nursing home, so it’s better to learn early on that you never have to give in to it. Become a leader, and make your own decisions. You’ll probably find that others will follow your lead; they just need someone to take the first step.