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Advice to Teens; Peer Pressure

Hey Guys!
So today I am introducing you to the amazing Liz Reinhardt. A few days ago I reviewed her newest book, Forgiving Trinity, as part of the book’s tour and now Liz is here to talk to you all about peer pressure.

A huge thank you to Faye for letting me come on and talk about something that has been getting closer and closer to my heart every day: peer pressure.

The other day, I went to the supermarket and the very cute, very sweet checkout girl had hairy arms. Really hairy arms. I noticed them, because I’ve always thought my arms are kind of hairy, but I had nothing on this girl. And she WAS NOT REMOTELY WORRIED ABOUT HER ARM HAIR. She had on bracelets and watches, wore short sleeves, smiled a ton…I mean, maybe she does once in a while say, “Man, my arms are crazy hairy. Oh well!”, but I know for a fact she doesn’t really care. How do I know? Well, when I had hairy arm issues, and I NEVER WORE SHORT SLEEVES. At one point some stupid classmate pointed out my arms, and I could never get over it. Never mind that he was a huge, awful jerk. I, for some reason, took his opinion seriously.

The sad thing is, it really doesn’t stop just because you get older. I mean, it did stop for me, but not because of age. I rock tank tops and let my hairy arms hang all the time, not because I’m older, but because I learned something.

Or a few somethings. And I think it would be cool to share, especially because my kid is about to go to school, and it makes my stomach hurt to imagine people being unkind to her. Or to imagine her being unkind to other kids. Ugh. Vomity feeling.

 

  • You’re parents tell you ‘no one will notice…’ and that isn’t true. People will notice. They will comment. And tease you. You have to decide to care or not care.

clip_image002Not my arm. BUT I look at this picture and wonder WHY little, tiny hairs on my arms worried me so much and gave me such a weird, distorted view of myself. Hmm. Life can be super weird.

 

This isn’t just about arm hair or whatever. Serious stuff gets made fun of. I had a friend give up dance (which was his passion and he was amazing at it) to pursue a ‘manlier’ sport (which he was fine in, but didn’t love. Because people noticed and teased him. I had friends who broke up their relationship because other people weren’t supportive.

I’ve had friends hide what they read, listen to, pray to (or don’t), who they love, hang out with, work with, all because of what others think.

Life is long, and you spend it with a lot of different people. My advice? Spend your time with the few good people who stick by you and support you, and let the others go.

 

  • There are a million ways to live life the right way…even with huge mistakes! The only wrong way is to live it for someone else.

clip_image004I don’t have one. And I really don’t need one. The mistakes I’ve made have made me stronger, smarter, and better overall. BUT I would like to erase a few ideas/opinions that I got in my head from someone else. My own mistakes? Mine. The mistakes of others? I like to stay faaaar away!

 

I’ve made some serious mistakes all my own. And I own them! I don’t regret those mistakes because they were mine, and I learned from them. If I hurt others, I made amends as best I could. Those mistakes helped me grow.

The only things I truly regret are the things I did because someone else persuaded me to. The decisions that weren’t my own – good and bad – wound up being things I regretted for good. I always wonder if things would have turned out better if I had made my own decisions!

So, yes, I regret not listening to Pearl Jam in high school, not going abroad during my sophomore summer, wasting time in Italy going to bars instead of museums and old churches…not that these were the biggest mistakes. They were just ones I made by listening to others.

 

  • There is a wise quote from Mary Schmich: “Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

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Seriously. It’s a long, crazy run, and you’re not competing with anyone but YOU. So enjoy and celebrate whenever you reach your own goals. Ignore everyone else.

 

I think one of the biggest reasons teens especially give in to peer-pressure is because there’s this competitive feeling that’s wildly inaccurate with the youths of America. It’s kind of like, “You have to do this and be this and it has to be now or your life will never, ever be worth anything ever.”

So there’s cutthroat competition to be the fastest, the smartest, the best. And it leads to a lot of stupid mistakes.

Well, here’s the reality. I was a good English student with only the occasional flunking grades in math. I did college quickly and well, and graduated with degrees I wound up never pursuing. When I finally decided I wanted to teach, I had to go back to school and get my license. I worked so hard for it, and once I was in the classroom…I missed being home with my little girl. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach after all.

What?! I had worked SO HARD for that degree. I had to DO something with that education, right? I had all these wildly successful friends. What was I thinking, considering staying home?

Guess what? I stayed home. I LOVED being home with my little girl. I loved the freedom of the hours alone, and I used them to write. The writing shaped itself into a book. The book got edited and critiqued. I published it. And, now, I’m doing well enough writing that it can be my career.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but it’s because I stopped looking at what everyone else was doing and kept my own race in mind. It was hard to tune out the voices around me, telling me what I should do with my degree, my job, my life. Advice is all good, but you have to do what works for you. And if you’re brave enough to do what you believe in, you just might make yourself the happiest person you know!

5 thoughts on “Advice to Teens; Peer Pressure

  1. Inspiring and oh-so-true!

    I think U.K kids have the opposite attitude to “cutthroat competition to be the fastest, the smartest, the best” Here it’s ‘cooler’ to be dumb, misbehave and get thrown out of school.
    Ridiculous.

    Great words there, thanks for the post :-)

    Vix @ ttoria.blogspot.com

  2. Thank you for this – great article! I agree that there are regional differences in the cut-throatedness. I went to a school where nerds/geeks got the snot beat out of them because it was cooler to be stupid. Just down the street was another high school were it was more cut-throat to be the best. Either way, it’s a rotten way to spend your time – Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule – that it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something and I think that if I had started in high school and focused on the things I loved, even if they weren’t “cool” – like writing or studying languages, etc. – how I would have gotten good so much faster/sooner. That’s the one mistake I would go back and fix if I could.

  3. This a truly AMAZING post. Thank you so much for sharing… whhether we like it or not, people will always be cruel at times, but it’s up to US how we let it effect us. Thank you!

    And YAY! Your last papragraph: EXACTLY. It’s about YOU! You’ll only be happy when you’re happy with you, and what you’re doing! LOVE! xx

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