Self Esteem

Follow your inner compass

"Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Are you always worried about fitting in with the crowd? Then you are not alone! The pressure that is out there to conform today is a very serious issue. Everyone likes to feel as though they belong, and oftentimes this desire leads to making bad choices that do not honor ourselves.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to say NO to the "in crowd." Ever do something that you were uncomfortable with, but did it anyway because you thought others wanted you to? How did this make you feel? Most of the time, you struggle with guilty feelings after doing something you would not have done on your own.

I remember when I was in ninth grade and went to a party. Older teens were drinking and acting crazy. This was my first introduction to partying. I did not participate that night but just watched the other teens. I knew I should not have been at that party. The next morning, I felt guilty and wished I had not gone. I knew it was the wrong direction.

At that point, I wish I had told someone who cared. I wish I had the courage to say NO and to find another group. Yet, all these kids were popular, or so that's how it appeared.  Instead of following my inner compass, I continued to hang around with that crowd. Yet I had an inner compass that knew it was wrong.

If we pause and listen, we will follow our inner compass and stay true to ourselves. There is always that nagging feeling when you are moving in the wrong direction. Yet, I did not pause and listen.

By my sophomore year, I was drinking also. The decision to drink at a party cost me my virginity. You see, every decision contrary from the truth and your inner compass will cost you something. The enemy of your soul would love to rob each of you! The more we shut out our inner voice, the less we will hear it.

I like what Sean Covey says in "The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make.” He compares your inner compass and peer pressure to two mirrors: the social mirror and the true mirror. Covey states that the social mirror is a reflection of how others see you. The true mirror is a reflection of the real you. The social mirror is external – you look outside yourself for the definition of who you are. You must be validated by others. The true mirror is a reflection of the internal – you look inside for your self definition.

The key is to build up and get in touch with your true mirror, your inner self. Get still and find out what's in there. You were uniquely created for a special purpose but if you are listening to everyone else, you will never tap into this.

What is this true mirror? It is the real you, based on your personal best. It comes from conscience and self-awareness. It’s your true potential.

Get still and make two lists:

The social mirror – what others see and think

Write 5 traits that you think others see in you:

1. __________________________________________

2. __________________________________________

3. __________________________________________

4. __________________________________________

5. __________________________________________

The true mirror – your real self

Write 5 traits you see in yourself.

1. __________________________________________

2. __________________________________________

3. __________________________________________

4. __________________________________________

5. __________________________________________

Are the decisions you are making and the people you are hanging out with lining up with your true self? Be honest with yourself. You might need to make some decisions.

Do you need to change crowds? Is your best friend or boyfriend a negative influence in your life? This is your time to make those decisions. Finally, I'll leave you with these ending thoughts.

The best way to overcome peer pressure is to make a decision to follow Jesus. When you truly make a decision to follow Jesus, you always have someone on your side and you are never alone. You do not have to face the pressure on your own. Use Jesus as your guide.

Before I was a follower of Jesus, I also had this emptiness inside. I was also grabbing at others trying to fill the void, yet no one else – not alcohol, drugs or a new boyfriend –could ever fill that void. It was difficult to hear that inner compass because I was empty.

True acceptance is being true to your own values, not those others are trying to pressure you into. If you do not know what those inner values, Jesus is the place to start. You do not have to prove that you are worthy of his acceptance. When others start to pressure you, be still with the one who truly loves you. Jesus Christ, the lover of your soul!

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