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Monday, November 20, 2023

Freedom from Peer Pressure



All teenagers and adolescents experience some pressure while growing up too quickly. They are changing too fast; it is difficult for them to adapt and adjust to those fast changes in their bodies, their minds, and their spirits. The world around them is also changing non-stop; it is easy for them to get lost and confused. Not knowing what to do next creates their inexplicable self-pressure of anxiety, fear, and worry—the so-called angst personality or state of mind.  

Controlling is the natural human response to angst feeling. Controlling others as well as the surrounding circumstances is often perceived as the solution to many human problems. To the human mind, control is power, power is pressure, and pressure is the solution to almost anything and everything in daily life and living. So, controlling is pressing others as well as self to do certain things to get the desired result. But control also and always generates rejection and resistance not only from others but also, ironically, from self.

To deal with the pressure of anxiety, fear, and worry, you must understand their causes. They all originate from expectations. Your parents expect you to get good grades at school; their expectations then become the anxiety of your own expectations. Your expectations to fit in socially then become the fear of your rejection by others. Your expectations to win at your sport competition then become the worry of your defeat.

So, do think twice before you want to control someone through pressure. Pressing someone into doing one thing may end up that someone just doing another. Remember, expectations in life are seldom fulfilled, and that is the reality of life.


Be what and who you are, instead of what and who you think or wish you were—that is, being your true self, and not the person that your parents or your teachers want you to become. Your values and behaviors may not agree with those of your parents. For one thing, they always change over the years of your lifespan. So, always speak out what is in your mind, instead of expressing them in rage and temper tantrums. Parents, on the other end of the spectrum, should talk honestly with “I” instead of “you” statements, listen, and speak without judgment. Learning how to agree to disagree avoids further and future conflicts and confrontations that may forever damage the relationships.

Doing what you can with what you have and accepting the consequences will take away your daily stress. For example, look for a part-time job to support your low-income family, de-stress yourself by creating art, doing exercise, playing music, practicing gratitude, and writing journals.

Avoid and do not conform to peer pressure just to gain your acceptance by others with inappropriate behaviors. Likewise, do not press others into their accepting you for who you are. Remember, everyone has the freedom to choose whoever he or she would like to spend time with.

The bottom line: Everyone’s ways of thinking are different and subjective, based on his or her own unique life experiences. So, you just cannot press your thinking on others, and neither can they press theirs on you. The good news is that you can always change your thinking mind, and nothing is set in stone.


Pressing others or allowing yourself to be pressed is the way to bondage.

Just look at the vulnerability of the following common scenarios to pressure and angst deranged mind:

           ·       Single-parent household

·       Low-income household with many financial problems

·       Parental marriage disharmony—separation and divorce

·       Physical and verbal abuse from parents

·       Time-stress with too many tasks

·       Too many attachments to materialism

·       An alcohol and drugs environment

·       Teen pregnancy

·       Toxic love relationships

·       Obesity and poor body image

·       Bullying at school or cyberbullying

·       Social stress with verbal aggressions

·       An unsafe neighborhood with many crimes and violence

The only way to turn the bondage into freedom is—be your true self (e.g. not have to act and think like your parents); do your best with what you have (e.g. looking for ways to help your family’s finance); accept the unchangeable (e.g. accepting your teenage pregnancy and be the mother of your child). 

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have "freedom" and not "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions regarding peer pressure.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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