Feeling like the odd one out while you’re growing up can be rough. And I think a lot of people end up letting others walk all over them because of this. A lot of us have gone through that; some are lucky and stop being a pushover and learn to stand up for ourselves. Now that I have you thinking about this, you’re probably like “Oh yeah, I had that phase once. It was in middle school, so glad I’m not like that anymore.” But did you honestly grow out of it?

Just think about it for a second.

Remember all the times you’ve just shrugged something off and did it anyway, just because someone asked you to? I’m talking about times you went out with friends even though you didn’t want to. What about when you knew you really shouldn’t do something, but still did it because you don’t want to disappoint your ‘friends’? Remember peer pressure?

We all know the typical talks about how peer pressure isn’t good. Obviously it can occasionally be beneficial, such as if your friends convince you to join a club at school or to do something else positive, like volunteering or working out. That’s okay as long as you’re actually okay with it.

The obvious bad forms of peer pressure are the usual ones we always hear about. If you’re pressured into doing drugs, drinking, smoking, anything that’s illegal, or anything that could harm you or others. These are probably what come to mind when you hear about peer pressure.

But there are also a lot of things we are either pressured into doing or feel forced to do because we want to be liked. Many of these things you might not think of being bad. Your friend always asking you for ‘help’ with homework even though you know it means you’ll end up doing most of their work. Your significant other having you stay up late to talk about something that can wait until the next day. Your sibling asking you to do their chores for them. Even if you are overwhelmed, and want to say no, you don’t.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, say no. It’s really as simple, and as difficult, as that.

It’s okay to say no if you’re uncomfortable, if you’re stressed or overwhelmed, even if you are simply tired. It’s okay to not please everybody. You are never going to please everyone around you, and you should stop trying to do that now. You need to focus on yourself because you are all that you have in the end.

When you make new friends, you try to make them laugh and do anything to get them to like you more. If they dare you to do something, make you tell them stuff you don’t want to share, even something as simple as always having you stay up late for no reason or go out with them. It’s okay to say no.

When you get a new significant other, all you want is their love and acceptance. You’ll do anything for them, even if it hurts you in any way, an example even being lending them money you may not have to give. Or doing something with them you might not want to do. It’s okay to say no.

If someone is meant to be in your life, they will stay, even if you tell them no a few times. They should stay even if you say no a few more times than they like. You don’t need anyone who makes you uncomfortable, depressed, or hurts you because of you saying no to them.

It is never wrong to say no if you are uncomfortable in a situation. It is never wrong to say no. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone. If a person makes you feel guilty by you telling them no, drop them.

You are a unique and special person. You don’t need to ‘fit in’ with anyone. Be yourself and people will come to you. It’s okay to say no to protect yourself and what you believe in. Make yourself happy, and friends and loved ones will admire you more for that.

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