There are so many dangers and negative influences that come with all forms of social pressure. This is not limited to the negatives you are being pressured to, like social media pressuring you to pornography. It also includes all the effects the very act of pressure has on the individual that is being pressured.
That is, even if someone doesn’t succumb to the pressure, the fact that they are being pressured still leaves some negative effect on them. These dangers of social pressure include
1. Lack of confidence or low self-esteem
The more outspoken forms of social pressure like peer pressure and intimidation dampen the confidence of the victim. People who suffer from peer pressure and pressure from social media begin to doubt their skills because they know they don’t want what the pressure is demanding of them or the pressure itself, but their constant subjection to such pressure reminds them of their helplessness and this might pose to them, of themself, a perceived inadequacy.
These all together lead to low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
2. Loneliness and isolation
People suffering from any form of social pressure might, in a bid to withdraw from the source of pressure, redraw from all social activities in general. Other times, even if they remain among the people because loneliness is not the absence of people but the absence of connection with those people, they will remain lonely.
What can be more depressing than being subjected to what you so much hate and can’t do anything about? What can be so depressing than looking at the future and seeing the certainty of a distasteful life? This is exactly what social pressure does to its victim. It saps joy and excitement from their life.
4. Lack of fulfillment
Sometimes, as in the case of certain societal norms, the pressure might be to do something the society considers beneficial and a worthy goal. But because the individual is not interested or does not like to do that thing (the supposed accomplishment according to the society’s standard), it will not bring any fulfillment to the individual.
It is like wanting to build a forest and ending up with a garden of shrubs
5. Unmaximised potential
Most of the social pressure, especially for societal norms, seeks to keep us within a box, with some set of rules, dos, and don’ts, and expectations we must conform to. Those boxes, mostly do not allow us to maximize our potential.
There is so much we can do and should do, that is counter-culture in our societies; if social pressure is not taken away a lot of potential will be destroyed.
6. Lack of self-discovery
Because social pressure seeks to dictate to the individual what they should do, the individual almost no longer takes time to make their own decisions or find what is within them. Lack of self-discovery also leads to unfulfillment and unmaximized potential because you can’t get them without first finding what gives you fulfillment and what potential you have to maximize.
7. Revolt and destroyed relationships
As I talked about while explaining intimidation, the most likely response when individuals are tired of intimidation is revolt. Our minds can only hold up so much pressure; once the pressure becomes too much, we either respond with a fight or flight. That is, we confront the source of pressure or run away from them.
Either way, our relationship with that person has been destroyed.
Discouragement is very common with the pressure from social media. Once a person keeps trying hard to achieve something and sees someone on social media seemingly getting the same results or even more with little effort, discouragement night set in.
This becomes especially true because we only see successes on social media and we tend to think that failure or much effort is exclusive to us.
9. Unhealthy competition
If discouragement is not the case, the individual might tilt to the other end, unhealthy competition: trying to do anything to get the result someone else is getting, even if it means jumping the process or cutting corners.
Unhealthy competition aborts success because the individual will be so focused on getting the results immediately that they miss hold of the elements that bring the result.
10. Guilt and shame
Because no one wants to be pressured to do what they don’t want, people who are a little more courageous than others might rise and go against the demand of the pressure.
However, they might also end up with guilt and sometimes, shame: the guilt of not satisfying the desires of the society ( including people you love), the guilt of being considered as a proud person, shame triggered by the reactions of those who are disappointed by your decisions, etc
Social pressure with all these dangers and negative effects it poses is so grave and should be dealt with.
But how can one go about this?