Growing up with a disability was a challenge. Most of my childhood life, the only other people with a disability around me was my three siblings. My neighbourhood friends and school friends were not like me. I stood out; that’s difficult to do when you are shy and lack self confidence! I didn’t feel pressure from my peers although I did feel left out from time to time. It was tough to let those feelings go and rise above it. My family and close friends helped by supporting and encouraging me to be whatever it was that made me happy. With their support, I felt empowered. My sister, also having the same disability, was my soul mate. With her constant guidance, I knew I wasn’t alone. I could do anything if I knew she was there. Find your rock! Your constant!
Fast forward to my high school days and things started to turn around. I continued to enjoy learning and had big dreams for my future. That shy little girl still lived inside but I mustard-up the confidence to believe in myself despite my insecurities. I believed in my abilities; communication skills, friendly personality, and inner strength. When you surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people too, you will start to see your own value and it will generate momentum. I thrived onwards because of that positive energy!
Peer pressure can strike you down, if you let it. It won’t be easy but it sure will be rewarding and give you a sense of personal satisfaction that you stood up for your own beliefs at the time; knowing you did the right thing for you. There will always be that fork in the road, decisions to make, options to choose, however, selecting which path to take is entirely up to you. Don’t let pressure from your peers sway your decisions no matter how popular it may make you in their eyes or how sweet the prospect appears, hold your ground and look within for your answers. You’re not letting anyone down but yourself!
Keep negativity and self doubt as far away as possible! Sometimes we all let these two traits creep into our psyche if only to be our own devil’s advocate. It’s healthy to evaluate our decisions before we act on them, if we don’t weigh ourselves down by that frame of mind. Peer pressure can be that heavy weight we bare. Our inner strength needs to kick into high gear then and overcome that negatively and self doubt. It may sound easy on paper but it does require your energy, your belief and your ability to be good to yourself. If you feel your inner strength lacking, seek out family members, friends or community supports to help you stay true to yourself. You have value and asking for help is smart not weak! We all need a sounding board, we all get overwhelmed from peer pressures around us at times.
My three siblings have passed away now and it has been a tough road. I always keep them near in my heart and soul because it is comforting to me. My rock, my constant will always be my family and close friends!
I have evolved from that shy little girl to a confident, strong-willed woman! Peer pressure is still around but I choose to turn a blind eye and live my life as self-directed as possible.