Have you ever experienced ADULT peer pressure?
Adult peer pressure is a real thing. Have you ever been judged for your parenting decisions? Have you ever started a new fitness program and had people give you a hard time for it? Or, you order your favorite meal at a restaurant and your family feels the need to make a negative comment? Have you ever said yes to someone even though your gut told you to say no?
Grown adults face peer pressure. We say yes to people we really want to say NO to in order to please them. We allow other people’s opinions to dictate our actions. What feels good to us may not be the same for others, yet we allow them to make us second guess our own decisions. Why do we do this to each other? Didn’t we get enough of this in high school?
The truth is that many don’t like it when friends change. Whether it’s a career switch, going vegan, or deciding to bottle feed, everybody has an opinion on how you should live your life. I recently saw a friend I haven’t seen in months and he looked fantastic; he was radiating. He said, “I haven’t had alcohol in a month and I feel amazing! I have so much energy! I’m kicking ass at work! I’m a better husband, father-” and mid-sentence his friend cut him off and said, “Yeah and he’s really boring! I don’t even like to hang out with him anymore.” I was blown away to hear a 40-year-old say this about his friend, who obviously had just made a positive change in his life and was feeling great about it.
Full honesty: I have been on the receiving end of peer pressure but I have also been the person to give it out. My entire life I’ve struggled with drinking and I would be the first to tell my friends to take another shot. I would say, “Why are you being so lame?” And every time I dished it out, I realized it had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.
Here are three ways that helped me stand up to adult peer pressure and break free from toxic habits.
1. Recognize that change comes from the desire to improve your life.
Standing up for your own life change isn’t about willpower, it’s about wanting a better life for yourself. WE cannot allow other people’s stories to dictate our own. When you start making decisions based on your own outcome you take your power back and that’s when you start taking your life back.
2. Approve of yourself FIRST.
In order to break toxic cycles and not give in to what other people think, you have to decide that your happiness, your success and your well-being is more important than getting other people’s approval and making other people happy. Order what you want at a restaurant and EAT IT. If you drink, DO IT, but if you don’t drink, also DO IT. If you choose to parent your child your way, OWN IT.
3. Ask for help!
When you first make a life change, it can be hard and you may need support. I fell backwards many times because I cared too much about what other people thought and I was filled with guilt and shame. It wasn’t until I asked people I loved and trusted to help support my life changes, and the journey became so much easier.
So here’s my suggestion for you. If you find yourself about to give someone a hard time for their choices, stop and first ask yourself, “What’s going on with ME that’s making me judge someone else?” And the next time you find yourself hanging out with people who give you a hard time for doing things that make you feel good, you should ask, “Does this person belong in my life?”
Let’s all start being more supportive of other people’s decisions and most of all, confident in our own life choices no matter what anyone else thinks! I believe in you and I believe in supporting people no matter where they are in their life journey. I love you all and I am here for you.
ALIVE and LIVING,