Almost everyone on this planet has a fear of rejection. Psychologists believe it stems from the days of hunters and gatherers where rejection from society meant certain death. While that’s certainly not the case today, the instinct to fit in and survive is still there.
It’s not surprising, in this case, that many people fall victim to peer pressure. Making key decisions based on obtaining the approval of others. Whether that’s choosing a job. What clothes to wear. Who to hang out with. People want to fit in and some will do whatever it takes to do so.
One of the key reasons successful people are so successful is because they learnt how to let go of the need to fit in. They knew to be successful they had to be different. Otherwise they would get the same results as everyone else. They stopped listening to what everyone said they ‘should’ do, and listened to what they wanted to do instead. In daring to be different, they achieved a different level of success.
So what steps can you take to deal with peer pressure, so you can live the life you want?
1) Discover who really are:
People who have spent much of their time trying to please other people often find it difficult to identify what they like. What’s important to them. What their passions are. What they are good at.
Go back to being a kid. Think about all the times you were happy, doing something you enjoyed where you were simply yourself. Then ask, “What was important to me about that?”. “What specifically did I enjoy about that?”. “What skills did I use in that moment in time that made me good at that?”. Start to discover who you really are, not the person you think you should be, and build a life aligned to your values.
2) Get real:
Let me ask you this. How real is that threat of rejection? How many people actually come up to you and say, “If you’re not a Director for a multinational company by the age of 35, then you will be outcast from society forever.”? How many of your friends actually say to you, “You don’t wear designer labels? Wow. Please never call me again.”? Not many right? So where is the pressure really coming from? Out there – or in your mind? Is it real – or just your imagination? Once you can identify the real source, you will know where you need to do the work.
3) Recognize your worth:
All human beings are born equal. There is no one person on this planet who has a higher value than any other. Sure there might be someone more intelligent than you, but it doesn’t mean they have more value than you. We were all created of equal worth and for our own special purpose. Whether it’s to be a teacher, a carpenter, a humanitarian, a global leader or a parent. All of these missions are of equal importance. So when you make a decision about your life or career, make it from the heart. Because nobody in the world lay on their death-bed wishing they had spent more time conforming to society’s expectations and neglecting their dreams. Ever.
4) Focus on the people who love you:
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like” – Dave Ramsy.
Believing that people will only respect us because of how much money we’re making, how successful we are or what we’re wearing completely devalues who we are as human beings. The people in your life, the ones worth having in your life, love you for who you are – not for what you have. They love you because you’re smart, kind, generous, honest, respectful, loving, caring, and good fun. Focus on building and maintaining relationships with those you love, not the ones you want to impress, for they are the ones that really matter.
5) Get rid of the potential sources of peer pressure:
If you find it hard to not compare yourself to famous people or your peers, for example on LinkedIn or Facebook, then do yourself a favor. Stop looking at them. Wait until you are at a point where you can appreciate other people’s success while being confident in your own self-worth before you open yourself up to potential sources of pressure.
If you are facing the real threat of being ostracized from a social group simply because you’re not driving a Ferrari, remember. We’re not living in hunter-gathering days anymore. Rejection doesn’t mean going out into the wilderness to die alone. There are plenty of other human beings all over the world who will appreciate you for who you are. So tell those ‘friends’ to go put that Ferrari somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine and make a quick exit. For every second you spend with them, you are depriving the world of your awesomeness.SHOW MORE