From the Editor

The Choice Is Yours

We need to be in environments that build us up. By Major Jamie Satterlee
From the Editor

A friend and I were texting each other recently, joking around and having lighthearted conversation when she texted, “A little peer pressure never hurt.” She wasn’t being serious at all, just being silly, but as I went about life after that, I kept thinking about that statement.

Peer pressure has a negative connotation. We think about it in terms of people making bad decisions stemming from negative influences of those around them. In our vernacular, it’s become a completely negative term.

If you look at the official definition, it says, “influence from members of one’s peer group.” The actual definition doesn’t specify that the influence is negative; our cultural usage has only shaped it that way. 

I think this is an important distinction to keep in mind, because the reality is that we are influenced by what is around us. Friends, family, school environment, work environment, media usage—these things influence us and therefore have the potential to apply peer pressure. Whether we realize it or not, these things are shaping our thoughts and perceptions and, flowing from those, our actions. We make choices based on what is influencing us.

The question then becomes: are these influences leading to negative peer pressure or positive peer pressure? Are they influencing us toward good choices or bad? If we are influenced by the things that surround us, it becomes even more important for us to pay attention and think about the things that we are allowing to influence us. We need to take a critical look at our media consumptions, at the places we’re hanging around, at the people we are spending time with. Are these things pushing us toward growth, holding us accountable and making us better? Or are they pushing us down, leading us toward unhealthy patterns and nudging us down a path that does not lead to the best place for us? Are these things supporting us and lifting us up or are they holding us back?

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” If we want to grow and be our best selves, we need to surround ourselves with people who will push us and support us to be our best. We need to be in environments that build us up. If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves in trouble.

Look around. Who or what are you being influenced by? Are you being pressured toward greatness or are you being pressured toward trouble? The choice is yours. 

Illustration by Lan Truong

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