iconThe Power of Social Influence

It’s no secret many people just follow the crowd, or do what is popular in life based on what their friends are doing. There is nothing wrong with conforming when it serves a positive purpose, “Hey, everyone is going to the beach, wanna come?” But peer pressure can be more severe than just doing what your friends are doing.

I’m not interested in talking about the dangers of peer pressure, or how it leads to negative things in life, because it doesn’t always – peer pressure can be positive in certain situations. What I’m talking about is accepting the opinions and actions of others in order to try and fit in, or because you define yourself through the image of another person or group of people.

Very often people derive personal importance and power through the image they have of someone else, or their perception of the power or importance of someone else. Typically these people don’t have much of a positive self image, and most often have low self-esteem. What’s worse is the people they typically choose to follow have the same issues or have trouble relating to others and derive their power from the attention they get from those around them.

We all need leaders in life, but so often those we think are leaders turn out to be giving us the wrong message, or just telling us what we want or need to hear in order to remain in the position of power or status. Politicians are a great example of this, they put spin on just about everything they can in order to make sure they stay in favor with their constituents. Through their ability to manipulate or sway the masses they derive power and thus continue the circle giving those weaker the impression they truly do have power.

I believe those who blindly accept the image that people portray of themselves are doomed to never know exactly who they are following or putting their trust in, or even really know those they’ve built friendships with. Questioning other motives, intent, actions, reactions, and even lack of action will always give you a better idea of who someone is as opposed to who they present themselves as to the outside world. Never take anything or anyone at face value, there nearly always is a deeper truth that lies beneath the polished surface. It’s a rare instance when you scratch the surface that you find the same shining interior as you find on the exterior.

Anyone can polish their exterior to shine, but doing the same on the interior is a much more difficult process that takes self examination, introspection, acceptance of our faults, and the ability to relate to others on more than a superficial level. Beware of those who are in the business of selling their image, typically their image is all they have to offer you.

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