Why Social Pressure Can Make You Feel Like You Don’t Belong
Pressure from others influences who you are and what you become throughout your life.
When you were younger, you probably dealt with peer pressure, as many people do.
Unsurprisingly, those pressures don’t necessarily go away as you age. Often, you have to deal with a lifetime of social pressure.
Social pressure can easily make you feel like you don’t belong for a variety of reasons. It may be because of your sexual orientation, gender, race/ethnicity, or even your gender identification.
No matter the reason behind it, social pressure can have a heavy influence on how you view yourself and your life choices.
Fitting in might feel good for a while, but if social pressure pushes you away from who you really are, the emotional effects could be damaging.
Understanding Social Pressure
To understand why social pressure is so powerful, it’s important to pin down exactly what it is.
Actually, it’s not so different from the peer pressure you may have faced as a child or teenager.
Social pressure refers to a direct influence on an individual from a group of their peers. Your friends might encourage you to live a certain lifestyle. On the other hand, they might discourage the lifestyle you currently lead.
When you conform to those pressures, you could be giving up your true personality and compromising your core values.
The worst part? Today, it’s easier than ever for social pressures to influence just about everyone.
Why Social Pressure Is Dangerous
Social pressures often follow outdated and sometimes offensive stereotypes.
Most of the time, the people you associate yourself with don’t necessarily mean to pressure you into thinking or acting a certain way. Still, it doesn’t make their influence any less dangerous or harmful.
Many people struggle with the fear of not fitting in. This is especially true when it comes to people you consider your friends.
It even happens in family circles. With that in mind, sometimes it’s just easier to be influenced by what your peers are suggesting.
Unfortunately, that often can cause the opposite effect. When you hide who you really are, or let others influence you, you may end up feeling even more isolated. As a result, it’s easy to feel lonely, or even depressed.
Fitting In to Stereotypes
Social pressure also comes in the form of “fitting in” to stereotypes based on whatever intersection you may be. There is often a lot of pressure when it comes to race and sexual orientation to act a certain way or exhibit certain behaviors.
If the behaviors don’t feel right or natural to you, it can have the same negative effects. This can cause you to feel disconnected from who you really are, and again, can lead to feelings of isolation.
Because we face peer pressure and social pressure from such a young age, it’s sometimes hard to notice when it’s happening. But, any pressure from your peers that makes you feel like you don’t belong needs to be addressed.
It’s not always easy to ignore this kind of pressure, especially from people you consider friends. If the influence of your peers is making you feel like you don’t belong, the most important thing to understand is that you’re not alone.
Therapy can help when it comes to recognizing social pressure and dealing with its effects.
If you’re starting to feel like you don’t belong or that you’ve had to change who you are to appease your social circle, I’d love to help.
Together, we can work on solutions that will help fight off feelings of isolation while allowing you to stay true to who you really are in your group of friends.