"Be Confident About What You Do" | Teen Ink

"Be Confident About What You Do"

March 28, 2008
By Anonymous

“Be confident about what you do”, “Don’t give into peer pressure.” We’ve all heard it before. From our parents, and teachers, it’s what they have to tell us, right? So, is that why we’ve stopped listening? Because we’ve already heard it, in a hundred different ways? We have been told this so many times, it’s just not sinking in anymore. Parents start telling us at such an early age “Don’t give into peer pressure,” that we grow up knowing those five words, and they don’t seem to mean anything anymore. When we hear our parents take a breath, then start to say “Don’t give into…” we just stop listening. We roll our eyes and think: Yeah, you’ve told me a million times before. Maybe they have told us a million times before, but the question is: How many times have we actually listened?
Parents and adults today think that one of the major things that we need to be warned about is Peer pressure. I suppose that in a way, they’re right. But, they need to figure out another way to tell us. Peer pressure comes at us in different forms that we don’t always recognize as being specifically: “Peer pressure.” What is it, exactly? The pressure that is put on us from people who we look up to, or the people that we’re associated with. Once in our lives, at least one of our friends is going to try drugs, or is going to get themselves into something they shouldn’t be doing. And the pressure is on us to either not tell, or participate. That’s the thing that parents are worried about, and that’s why they start talking to us about it at such an early age. When we’re still in elementary school even, and then the immediate response is: “Don’t worry, I never will.” But as you grow older, does the response stay the same? When you’re sixteen years old, you’ll think differently. The desire to be what your friends want you to be, or the desire to be “Popular” may overtake your common sense. I’m not saying that everyone is going to have a serious problem with peer pressure, but I am saying that it’s something to look out for. And underneath all this, parents and adults especially could figure out different ways to warn us. I mean, it’s the same broken-record response every time. We have to realize that they’re just trying to help, but they have to be the ones to realize that overall, it’s not working.
Self-Confidence. One of the major characteristics linked with peer pressure. Generally, people with lower self-esteem or lower self-confidence tend to be at risk to be influenced by the people around them. When you don’t believe in yourself, or believe in what you do, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and want to be like everyone else. I know that we can’t always change someone who has low-self esteem, but we could always try to help, which in the long run could make a big difference later in their lives. When you aren’t happy with the person that you are, some teens take drastic measures to make them feel better about themselves, which can include drug or alcohol abuse, anorexia, and several dangerous things that could ruin someone’s life forever. It doesn’t help when the people around you are getting into those things, but you can resist it. Even if it means losing some of your friends, or people that are really close to you. If it means making the right choice, you won’t regret it in the long run. “Never dull your shine for someone else.” As Tyra Banks once said. Don’t live your life as someone else wants you to live it. Be who you are, and not who someone else wants you to be. Your life is strictly your own. Other people may come into it, but you’re the only one who can really live it. By resisting some of the choices that people make, you can save your own life and help the others around you, because you never know how your own choices may influence someone else’s.
One of the main causes of all of this is the media. Something that you generally find in every one of our homes. Commercials especially tell us what clothes to wear, what to look like, and what people find attractive. Reality TV shows tell us what qualities you have to have to make it in competitions, or just to be called ‘good looking’, and we find ourselves comparing those people to us. But then we have to realize that not everyone in the world is like the models on “America’s Next Top Model.” Real-life people aren’t all like that. Those shows have to go find people like that.
Everyone in the world has their own opinions. You don’t have to be model-goregous to make a statement in the world, and it’s a sad reality that a lot of the teens feel like they have to.
Drugs and Alcohol. We’ve had this unit before…but let’s revisit it. Some of the main dangers linked with peer pressure is the overuse or just plain use of drugs or alcohol. Let’s take one of the more common ones. Marijuana. It has both short and long term effects, and it’s more common in schools nowadays. It’s said that students with a D average or below are more likely to have smoked it sometime in the past, or even the present. Drug abuse can effect your grades, as well as your personality and social life. It doubles the risk of depression. It makes you anxious. All of these things link to low-self esteem, which is the main cause of peer pressure. It’s sad, but true: Drugs, alcohol, Peer pressure, and low self-confidence are all linked, and they’re all present in the lives of teens today. A lot of us really haven’t thought about it. We haven’t taken the time to think “Low self-confidence can lead to drug abuse?” Because it isn’t that evident. That’s not the only thing. There are several problems, especially health issues that are caused by self-depriciation and peer pressure. But even so…there is such a thing as positive peer pressure. You can influence your peers to do something good, and to make the right choices. Peer pressure can have an upside, just like everything in life. It’s your choice whether to take advantage of that or not.

Peer pressure can be one of the hardest things that we as adolescents have to face. But, we need to realize that we’re going to have to face it sooner or later. Make your own choices, and use your common sense. Don’t get yourself into something that you might regret in the long run. All of us make bad choices. Sometimes they can’t be fixed. The best thing we can do is to make the choices that we believe are right, and think ahead to the future.

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