You can most likely recall situations where peer pressure, or negative influence from friends and associates, convinced you to act against your natural instincts. The result was that you ended up feeling badly about the fact that you betrayed your morals and principles.
The truth is you’re not alone. Many others blindly put all their faith in people closest to them.
When you have a close relationship with someone, you give them every ounce of your trust. It’s natural – we’re meant to live and work together. However, there comes a time when you may need to draw the line between that close association and your beliefs.
The challenge is in knowing how and when to draw that line.
Using these strategies will help you build the fortitude to be true to your beliefs:
1. Avoid making rush decisions. One proven way to avoid being drawn in by peer pressure is to take the time to think through the situation before making a decision. Thoughts are usually cloudy in the midst of chaos, and that’s the worst time to make a decision.
- Let your friend or associate know that, while you appreciate their input, you would be completely unfair to yourself if you didn’t take the time to think with a clear head.
- Remember that you are the person who will have to live with the consequences of making a decision in the midst of chaos.
2. Consider the possible outcomes.When you’re at a crossroads and faced with a situation that could have multiple outcomes dependent on how you decide to handle it, it’s only logical to spend some time considering what those outcomes are. Ask yourself:
- What are the moral implications of each scenario?
- Who may be affected by each situation?
- What are the far-reaching effects of each option?
3. Prevent character assassination.Reflect on how you will be viewed after the dust has settled.When making a tough decision, choose options that maintain your integrity and garner the trust of those around you.
- Can you continue to live the same quality of life as before?
- Will the friend who influenced your decision be willing to stand by your side and defend your uprightness?
- How effective do you think you’ll be in positively influencing others?
4. Prioritize the relationships in your life.Above all, it’s critical to consider the impact your decision will have on the people who are most important to you. Sure, the friend or associate who’s putting pressure on you to act in a certain way will be offended if you ignore their advice. But what about your family? Your children?
- How will those closest to you be affected? If at any point you see gloom in their future, then it would be wise to reconsider what you’re being influenced to do.
5. At the end of the day, your character and the morals that define it are the strongholds that will take you through any challenge and allow positive relationships to prosper. Your utmost focus should always be on sticking to what you know is right. Remember that if there’s even an ounce of doubt, chances are your conscience is telling you to reconsider!