I watched an experiment through a YouTube video not too long ago that I found incredibly interesting.
A group of teenagers were placed in a classroom together and were asked to answer a question. It was set up as such that the answer to the question was an obvious one. All of the teenagers in the classroom except one were in on the experiment. They were instructed to answer the question obviously wrong. The experiment was to see how the one teenager who was not in on the experiment would answer the question. Would they answer it correctly or would they follow all the other teens and give the wrong answer because they felt the need to follow the majority.
Shockingly every single person except one that was tested copied the wrong answer given by everyone else, even though they knew it was wrong. This experiment showed the great effects of social pressure and how even when something is obviously wrong, we naturally want to follow everyone else for fear of standing out.
This got me thinking greatly about how easy it is to get lost in who we are, how we can struggle to find our own path in life and how we make choices based on a mjority instead of what is right for us.
So much do I want you to know your voice and to feel safe in expressing it. I want you to make choices based on what you know is right in your heart and for your life and to not be swayed by social pressure.
In this post, we are going to dive deeper into the areas of social pressure and I am going to teach you how to find your voice among it all so that you can make decisions that you feel good about and learn to trust your inner voice.
Recognizing That Social Pressure Is All Around
Social pressure isn’t something that only kids in school experience, it is seen in any social situation in any age group. Unless you are someone who gets energy and enjoyment from standing out of the crowd, the majority of people would rather blend in.
By being aware that you are likely to encounter a situation where you might experience some social pressure, you can prepare yourself to be able to stand up for what you know is right and make choices in line with what you believe.
What areas in your daily life might you be exposed to social pressure???
A big one is Social Media. The danger of social media is that it has an unspoken pressure of needing to present yourself a certain way.
I think it’s kind of cool that these days you can have your own business and make money through a social media account such as Instagram. You can simply post pictures and make a brand out of yourself that can help you to earn a living. Of course, there’s a lot of work that goes into having a successful Instagram account with planning and creating quality content, but the idea of making a living through it is so enticing that it’s easy to miss the pressure of conformity that comes along with it.
You might start off with an idea of an account that you wish to create, but as you post photos you start to realize that certain photos get more likes than others, so you feel pulled to only take photos inline with what others were liking. This is social pressure. Why is this bad that you want to create for what others like? It’s bad because you’re no longer making content for you but for others and in this day and age, you will never truly satisfy. There will always be someone topping someone else and to keep up is hard work. The only way to actually keep going and enjoying it is to do it for you. To create content that you like, whether everyone else likes it or not.
If you are active on social media and are passionate about creating content, try to remember who you are making your content for and post the pictures that you want simply because you like them.
Social pressure can be seen everywhere and likely you have experienced it in different areas of your life. Maybe you feel pressure at your gym to do certain workouts, to wear certain workout attire or to have a popular protein shake after your workout. Maybe you have a group of girlfriends who are all gossiping about something or someone and you feel the pressure to join in on the conversation. Or maybe you feel pressure to shop for your children’s clothes at a certain store based on where a majority of the other moms around you are shopping at.
It’s a good idea to think of these areas in your life that you might encounter this pressure because it gives you the opportunity to overcome it and begin making choices based on your hearts desires and not others.
Fears Behind Social Pressure
The main control issue with social pressure is that it instils a fear within you. Sometimes they are fears that others have created in you and other times they are fears that you have created in your mind based on situations of your past. Such as, maybe you were bullied as a child, so now in a crowd, you would rather fall in line with the majority because you have a fear of standing out and possibly getting bullied again.
It’s never pleasant to have to deal with conflict and I have seen a lot of fears towards conflict in my close family and friends, but when your fear of conflict is holding you back from doing something right, it’s an issue.
What tends to happen is that whoever has the confidence to speak first and is bold in their answer, others will start to question their own thoughts on it. Is the person right with what they said? Is my thought wrong or stupid? The fear of looking stupid is one of the most controlling aspects of social pressure.
Imagine seeing a child on a playground who is getting picked on by a bully. If you were in a crowd of kids watching this child getting picked on, would you say something? Would you stand out and confront the bully? The sad answer is that most kids won’t, for fear of the negative attention turning on to them.
I will be talking about bullying in another post, but this is the way that a bully gets their needs filled. They have a loud voice and a strong personality that makes others feel they are right and that their actions are okay. And when in a situation such as a child being bullied in the playground, the bully knows that if they speak loud enough and show confidence in what they are saying that others will likely rally around them even though they are wrong because they know they can instill a fear in everyone to stop them from speaking up for what is right.
You can overcome this control by facing the fears that you might have towards standing out. You can learn how your past has influenced your reactions to want to conform and how they have caused you to do things that you might not feel good doing. Then you can begin to take a stand against conforming and start feeling confident in the thoughts and feelings that you have so you can own them and speak up when a situation presents itself.
Trusting Your Inner Voice
Have you ever wished that you had the confidence that you saw in someone else? Have you seen the opportunities that being confident in yourself can open you up to? When you stop letting fears control you then you can begin to see all that you are capable and you can trust in your own voice.
But how can you begin to feel confident in yourself and what you have to say? It starts with being brave and by doing that you can then learn to speak up.
The beauty of bravery is that it doesn’t mean going at something with no fear, it means knowing all of your fears and going at it anyway. It’s about believing in the importance of your reason for doing it more than your fear that might come along with it. Knowing that by standing up for it you can create great change and accomplish much.
You have been given a unique voice that is a valuable part of society and it should be heard. The best part is that you can choose how to speak up.
Maybe it’s in the lessons that you choose to teach your children, maybe it’s the content you put out on social media, or maybe it’s standing up for the person you see being picked on in a crowd. You have the ability to use your voice to create change and to inspire others to trust in their own voice.
Instead of setting trends that others feel the need to conform to, what if we encourage being ourselves and put out what we are inspired by even if it’s not of what the majority is doing? Maybe this idea of social pressure will start to disappear because everyone will feel good about their own choices they are making.
By recognizing the areas in your life that you might come in contact with social pressure, removing the fears you have of standing out and taking a brave step towards speaking up, you have the opportunity to overcome the control that social pressure has and you can feel more confident in your own voice.