Young Voices

Peer pressure: Not necessarily bad

 

REGARDLESS OF AGE, everyone has somehow faced peer pressure. While peer pressure is most closely associated with teens, I believe that adults face peer pressure too – it’s just more often disguised as competition in the workplace! However, with greater life experience and hopefully wisdom, adults are probably better equipped to deal with peer pressure.

Peer pressure is most commonly used to describe the power of influence a collective group has over others. I am sure we are all familiar with peer pressure faced by youth. The teenage years in one’s life are often filled with angst and a lack of clarity of where we fit in and who we are. We all have a deep desire to fit in and be accepted. As teenagers, it is often hard to stand out from the crowd. We just want to be accepted by our peers in the way we look, and who we are. This constant need for acceptance is often blinding and all-consuming, so much so that it results in a compromising of values and morals.

The question is, is peer pressure always a bad thing? While peer pressure often brings its own negative connotations, I believe that there is another side to the coin. Peers can also be good influencers of our lives. We cannot disregard the profoundly positive influence that peers have on each other, or the significant roles they play in each other’s lives.

Through shared life experiences, I have met and made many firm friends. We share our good times and our bad times.

I have met many peers whose positive qualities, such as loyalty and kindness, have inspired me to be a better version of myself. Through tough times, I have found listening ears in my peers, who are always quick to offer a word of encouragement. Peer pressure in the form of moral support is a great motivator. Through my peers, I have been given many opportunities to try new things, resulting in new experiences that I would not have imagined possible on my own. This positive pressure has resulted in great growth in my life.

I believe that the teenage years are the most difficult to navigate. Without a clear identity of who we are, it is easy to get caught up with trying to fit in. The key to withstanding peer pressure is knowing who we are in Christ, and how He sees us.

In Psalm 139, it says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ. Each of us is made special in our own way. When we truly understand how much He loves us, just the way we are, why then would we have to look for acceptance elsewhere? When we keep our eyes on the Lord, we will discover the great plans He has for us – plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.

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