We are faced with many decisions, small and large, every day of our lives from the time we become completely self-aware and aware of the world around us. As very young children, most of our decisions center around choosing whether or not to heed parental or schoolteacher instructions, choosing our friends and how we do our part in those relationships, the rest is pretty much left up to the grown-ups. Then once adolescence is reached, there is still the issue of heeding parental and school rules though the decision of whether to fit in and who to fit in with takes precedence. Then once we turn eighteen, suddenly, we’re officially a part of greater society and if we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, much suffering results and not just with us, either.
It is important not to lose sight of who you are and your mission in life, which changes from year to year, month to month, moment to moment. There is a good reason why we can never truly forecast our own future. It is because every moment that we are still breathing, there are always infinite possibilities around us. The trick is that only one out of those unlimited possibilities will manifest. And which one manifests depends on what we choose to do from moment to moment. This is not magic, the world truly does depend on us taking responsibility for all that we do, say and think. If we don’t, the last results we desire will most likely be the ones to manifest.
Especially those who are neglected or abused as children or get into these kinds of relationships as adults, have likely never truly had a sense of their own identity and as a result, they allow others to define them in the first place. Especially those who are abused develop not only an eradicated sense of themselves but also a rather unconscious sense that they are an extension of their perpetrator. The flip side is that this is also how the perpetrator sees those they abuse. They have given away so much of their power that the chance that they will come back to having a sense of self without professional help and much support and encouragement is very slim. As a result, they often repeat these patterns many times over.
I remember seeing this anti-drug advertisement on television several years ago that centered on a teenage boy standing in the center of the room and switching between many styles of outfits while everyone else around him was speeding by him in a fast-forward. I realize that the advertisement may have been subconsciously trying to show the effects of life going by too fast when on a high from drugs and then not being able to recall a thing afterward. Though their main message centered on the choice of allowing others or only yourself to define you. Now that I look back on it, I believe that it was one of the most symbolically accurate advertisements I have ever seen.
Whether we are willing to accept that reality or not, adolescents are extremely susceptible to peer pressure. As small children, we start out believing almost anything any adult tells us and then as adolescents, we “graduate” to believing almost anything about ourselves that our friends tell us (even if we don‘t show it on the surface). Even if it is far from the truth. Most adolescents, at some point, face peer pressure on anything from their appearances to the decision to try drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, most believe that they will look cowardly if they try to walk away so more often than not, they will give into it or allow themselves to get upset by it. What they don’t realize is that the moment that they give in or show their negative reactions, they have just decided to give away a power that is rightly theirs. As Philip Banks tells his son, Carlton on an episode of the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, true courage is choosing to be no one than who you truly are no matter what.
This is true not just for adolescents but for all of us no what how old or who we are. Certain types of decisions also vary each time they are made. For example, you and a friend like to go out to eat a lot. You could desire one restaurant one time and not care the next. The bottom line is that you and your friend get something good to eat (preferably something that will not make either of you sick) and that the restaurant is within both your budgets. You do not have to plan all your activities to a tee to be in control of your life. In fact, in most cases, it’s probably better if you don’t since spontaneity in moderation is actually good for you. You would hardly thrive if you didn’t try something majorly new to you at least every once in a while.
You can always ask for advice or guidance. The bottom line is that your decisions are yours alone to make. No more, no less.

Author's Bio: 

Lacy S. Pierce has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Art. She currently volunteers for a church bookstore, a homeless organization, and a school mentoring organization. She also currently works for a market research company.