How to Beat Social Pressure and Live with Purpose in Life

June 25, 2015 |Gideon Hanekom

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There’s only one way to live with purpose in life, and it starts with being yourself. You cannot live with purpose while trying to be a carbon copy of someone else.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 

Some of us are charismatic and comfortable in all social situations.

However, most people suffer from some degree of self-consciousness at times and alter their behaviour in an effort to appeal to others.

This begins in childhood and becomes a habit we carry throughout our lives.

The pressure to conform resides in most of us.

How much are you pretending?

How much of yourself are you giving up in order to gain approval from others?

Interestingly, the people we admire the most are those that make no effort to conform.

We tend to unconsciously admire individuality or the fact that they have the guts to be themselves.

These tips will help you learn to be yourself:

Pay attention to others.

It’s much harder to feel self-conscious if your attention isn’t on yourself.

The key to being self-conscious is to focus on your appearance, clothes, posture, and words.

Eliminate this self-scanning behaviour and you’ll feel much more comfortable.

Notice your environment.

If someone is speaking to you, focus on their face and words. Your ability to focus outside yourself will grow with practice.

Enhance your self-esteem.

Pretending to be something you’re not suggesting that you believe you’re enough in some way.

However, you’ve done some amazing things in your life. Focus on your positive qualities.

Remind yourself of your successes.

In fact, realise that only you can be you, and as a human being you have the same value as anyone else you might be looking up to right now.

Don’t deify people.

See them for what they are, and that includes yourself.

Most importantly, leave your failures and regrets in the past.

That’s where they belong!

Be accepting of yourself.

Remind yourself that no one is perfect.

Even your best friend has numerous flaws that you could quickly list.

You still love them anyway.

Monitor your level of anxiety.

There are many tools to lower anxiety, but it’s most effective to use them when your feelings of anxiousness begin to rise.

When you’re highly stressed, it’s much more challenging to get your emotions back under control.

When you first notice yourself becoming uncomfortable, focus on taking slow, deep breaths.

Redirect your focus to your breath and your environment.

Your previous thoughts resulted in your anxiety, so change them.

Determine your purpose in life and live it.

It could be argued that you’re not bold enough to be yourself because the stakes aren’t high enough, yet.

When you have enough motivation, anxiety rarely shows up.

You might be too bashful to raise money for your new business, but it’s no problem if you’re raising money to save your child from cancer.

So the big question becomes,

Do you know your purpose in life?

When you can answer that question definitively, much of the social pressure in your life will disappear.

Imagine your parents are gone.

Even people in their 50’s and 60’s are still worried about disappointing their parents.

What would you do differently right now if your parents were gone?

A parent’s influence is never gone completely, but most of us give them more power than is reasonable.

As adults, parents only have the power we give to them.

Do one thing you’ve been avoiding.

It can be something small, but jump in the deep end and do something new.

It might be getting a tattoo or singing Karaoke.

Create the online course or write that book.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to take ballet lessons.

Whatever it is, go and do it.

This process of pushing your boundaries is paramount for your personal development.

Realise that your time is limited.

It will all be over someday, so there’s little reason to worry. Anything you’re worried about now will be meaningless in the distant future.

Have fun and enjoy your life.

Here’s an exercise that might wake you up.

Google the average life expectancy in your country and see how much you have left.

I’m not going dark on you, but this might things in perspective.

It did for me.

Start being yourself! 

Break free of the social pressure to conform.

Speak up, and share your thoughts and ideas.

Enjoy your life.

Put yourself out there.

Who cares?

Seriously?!

Don’t have any regrets.

Discover how you can be your own person and be you!

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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