Flower Essences for Peer Group Pressure

Whilst the term “peer group pressure” can be applied to many age groups, it is most commonly associated with young people, usually teenagers. It brings to mind the experience many teenagers face-being subjected to pressure from one’s peers to act a certain way or do a particular thing. Sadly, for the young person being pressured what is “asked” of them is often something they are not comfortable with, do not wish to do. Consequently, if they submit to the pressure, it often involves them acting in a way they would ordinarily not- i.e. “acting out of character”.

Such pressure from others can also override an individual’s logic or their innate understanding or experience of a situation. Take for example, the young teenage girl, witnessing the debilitating effects of a lifetime of smoking on her grandfather’s health, who still, in the face of pressure from her classmates, begins smoking.

Why young people do act in such a way can be due to any number of reasons. One of the major reasons is the fundamental yearning for people to “belong”. Humans, on the whole, have an inner longing not to be alone but to belong to a collective group, something, someone.... We also generally desire or need to be accepted, approved by others. Hence, when an individual wishes to be acknowledged or accepted by a group, they can act in a way that will gain them that group’s approval or acceptance- they conform to a standard/s, ideal/s, “code/s” etc of that group. When this involves the individual acting unnaturally, they surrender aspects of their true self in their pursuit of others approval or acceptance. For example, a teenage boy may forfeit his inner yearning to join the school choir and rather take up, with little enthusiasm, a style of singing more popular and prized amongst his peers e.g. rap

People usually also have a strong desire to be “normal”, to conform to the general consensus of what is “normal”, the “status quo”. They may fear to be other than what is generally expected of them by society in case this makes them somehow “wrong”. This was very much evident for example, in the middle of the 19th century when women were often considered a bit odd, even selfish, if they even day-dreamed about doing the sorts of employment women today do!

Some individuals are also generally eager to please others - theirs are temperaments which desire to make others happy. Hence for them, a “little concession” here or there really is of no great matter overall if it “makes others happy”. Hence, for example, the "mother hen" personality, who always put her needs last, seeking always to first meet the needs of her friends first

Conforming to others requests, desires, even demands, occurs across the board of social experience- people of all ages, nationalities, social classes, etc can find themselves subjected to and “succumbing” to such influence. The teenage years, being such formative years of our personality, however frequently sees young people “bending before” such pressure as they not only strive to find their adult identity but have it approved by their peers. How easily a teenager actually “gives way” can be much influenced by both the individual’s nature and their personal situation, experiences and environment.

It can take a fair dollop of guts and bravado for a teenager to withstand the various influences surrounding them. Hence, innately strong and confident teenagers often have more resistance. Those teenagers with a healthy self esteem often cope best – they are less likely to look to look to their peers for a definitive estimate of their worth. (Then there are also those who naturally pay less or little attention to what others think- they pursue their own “path” quite happily!)

Yet unfortunately many teenagers have neither the innate and / or instilled self confidence that allows them to easily weather peer group pressure. Children who haven’t been sufficiently nurtured or loved due to divorce, parental work commitments etc, can develop a stronger need for external approval and love than those who did- they can seek from their peers the degree of love and approval they wanted, but did not receive from their parents and/or family. Children who received “conditional love” growing up likewise may be more inclined to seek love and acceptance from another party i.e. their peers.

Regardless of the cause/s behind teenager’s behavior to win approval from their peers, the result is that they often “overide” an integral part of themselves. At times, the teenager is not much aware of this, or if so, think it’s not a big deal- better, and easier, to be liked and accepted they decide. However at times, “giving in” to their peers can cause any number of painful emotions to arise within the young person. For example, if what they have agreed to do is illegal or dangerous, they may consequently feel guilt and /or fear. If they have acted in a way uncomfortable for them, they likewise may feel remorse or shame. e.g. teasing a shy new girl at school.

Often teenagers are urged, pushed by their friends to act physically in a way they would not ordinarily do (or do yet) e.g. lose their virginity on a first date. These experiences can cause many difficult feelings to arise: e.g. shame, self judgment, sadness. Another sensation many teenagers may experience is anger at those who applied the pressure. Also sometimes, self condemnation that they allowed themselves to be pushed into it, that they did not remain true to themselves but rather “sold out” as they judge it.

Hence there exists in this situation both a cause as to why teenagers conceded and the effects the actions has on him/her. Any effects which have arisen, such as shame, should naturally be addressed. However, in addressing the needs of the teenager in question, it is important to treat the cause of the problem as much as the effect/s. Therefore it is helpful to address the issues of self esteem, self love because in strengthening these, there is less chance of the teenager being swayed or bullied by their peers in the future.

With regards to developing self esteem, there are a number of universal approaches which can be employed here- love, respect, praise, encouragement, even counseling/therapy if this is helpful. Another lesser known but wonderful approach is the use of flower essences. For those, not familiar with flower essences, these are natural remedies made from flowers. The healing properties of flower essences are made possible through the life force of the flowers. Flower essences address negative emotional states (and sometimes physical ailments.)

Flower essences* can be used for to address both the cause and side effects involved in the situation of a teenager acting against his will or better judgment due to external pressure. There are, for example, many essences that can assist one with developing a stronger sense of self esteem. Some valuable essences that be used here are:

~ Cliff Rose (Cowania mexicana): increases self-acceptance and a positive self-image while removing doubts and fears. Awakens us to empower and love ourselves
~ Columbine (Yellow) (Aguilegia chrysantha): Allows us to appreciate, nurture, love and accept ourselves and to treasure our own inner gifts.
~ Buttercup (Ranunculus acris): develops self-esteem and self-confidence. It’s helpful for those who doubt and under-estimate themselves and do not appreciate their own worth.
~ Jasmine (Jasmine officinalis): can be used by those who have a negative image of themselves or lack self-esteem.
~ Sunbonnet (Diascia barberae): can be taken when there is a need for validation; for feelings of personal inadequacy.
~ Wild Jasmine (Jasminum multipartitum): fosters self love, self-esteem and is helpful for sensations of separation and alienation
Christ thorn (Euphorbia milii): can be taken when one suffers from lack of self-worth or subjugates oneself. It helps one honor oneself.

For those teenagers who are timid or are easily pushed around or find it hard to establish “boundaries” with others, the following essences could be helpful:

~ Centaury (Centaurium umbellatum): for timid, quiet, kind, gentle, conventional, maybe weak -willed, docile and easily dominated people who are anxious to please,
~ Box (Buxus sempervirens): is also helpful for those who are shy and often weak-willed and let themselves be dominated by those around them. It helps develop one's own individuality without being affected by outside influences. It confers strength, courage and tenacity to free oneself from the domination of others.
~ Gazania (Gazania krebsiana): can be used when one has trouble speaking up or lacks the courage to do so or subjugates themselves to the will of others
~ Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus): allows shy, introverted or hesitant people to express their ideas clearly and easily.
~ Radish (Brassicaceae species): is a remedy for setting boundaries with self and/or with others. It helps one to say “no” when needed and to respect the boundaries in our lives that we need to stay healthy
~ Buchu (Agathosma serpyllacea): helps establish emotional boundaries
~ Pink Watsonia (Watsonia borbonica): assists when one lives one's life according to the opinions of others. Its helps one find one’s centre, clarity and focus and helps establish boundaries.

Many essences are also available to promote courage, strength and a feeling of protection:

~ White Yarrow (Achilllea millefolium): helps instill a sense of protection and integration and is useful for feelings of vulnerability
~ Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium): is beneficial when one is disturbed by the negative thoughts of others and for those who are easily influenced.
~ Golden yarrow: (Achillea filipendulina) can be used with hypersensitive and vulnerable temperaments, who have a tendency to cut themselves off from the outside world to protect themselves. It supports the growth and development of the personality within an active social-life setting, while preserving individuality and sensitivity
~ Borage (Borage officinalis): restores courage

To assist teenagers to “stand true”, “speak true” and be themselves, the following remedies could be beneficial

~ Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus): this essence helps one to speak one's truth. It’s for those who have difficulties speaking or expressing their feelings.
~ Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus): nurtures our communication skills and teaches us the courage and honesty in expression of ourselves (it also instills courage to believe in self)
~ Garlic (Allium sativum): helps one develop security, strength, confidence and allows one to express themselves without the fear of others
~ Flowering Gum (Eucalyptus ficifolius): promotes a positive ambition to live according to one's own values.
~ Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis): is beneficial for those whose lives are dictated by duties, obligations and social conventions, for those who seek the approval of others and are prisoners of external conditioning.
~ Bistort (Polygonum bistorta): helps one remain faithful to one’s own aspirations while recognising and respecting those of others. It assists one to return to one’s centre.

For teenagers who feel on “the outer” and long to feel they belong to a group, the following may bring comfort:

~ Sweetpea (Lathyrus Latifolius): for those who are insecure, lack confidence, feel unprotected and feel a lack of belongingness.
~ Cucumber (Cucurbita sativus): can be taken to help with feelings of pessimism, defeat, alienation and a sense of separation.

Then there are also essences to help with any consequences of actions that may take place- many essences for shame, regret, guilt, self judgment, worry, fear etc are also available (these however are too numerous to be included here also, please understand)

Furthermore, any of the above cited essences, can be applied, if appropriate, to situations involving adults experiencing and yielding to external pressure. Such situations are all too common especially as many adults received insufficient love and nurturing as children and teenagers. Lacking this inner foundation of love and self worth, they continue to look outside of ourselves during their adult lives for acceptance and approval – in their quest to belong and be accepted they may, for example, seek to meet expectations regarding a certain standard of living, decide to join an “in” club, dress a certain way and so on.

Many adults also were/are not taught when young, that within their very selves is the love they often crave - ultimately it is our own selves in fact who can provide the love and approval we often seek externally. We can each love, respect and nurture ourselves. If there are aspects of ourselves we wish to change, with unconditional love, forgiveness and the intent to want to change, we can heal ourselves, our past, our lives. As we thus heal, we increasingly experience the infinite, absolute Love and Peace that resides within. Furthermore, our innate wisdom guides us for the Highest Good and we can see more and more clearly what is True and follow our Inner Wisdom rather than refer to external sources for guidance and standards.

Nowadays there is a growing awareness of fostering in children a strong sense of worth- it is recognized children that develop self esteem when young are usually better “equipped” to deal with the challenges adulthood can present. Sadly however, many young people still unfortunately reach adolescence with an undeveloped sense of self esteem and hence are more prone to suffer from the difficulties that these all important, yet often confusing and stressful years bring. Thankfully for such young people various tools such as flower remedies are now available to help support them throughout these years and beyond….

~ Copyright Tranquil Path P/L 2011

Please note, further, and important, information about using flower essences, can be found here at Tranqil Path's FAQ page.

If you are involved in publishing a magazine, website, ebook, or newsletter etc and would be interested in Marlene possibly writing an article for your publication, please feel free to contact her to discuss this.

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Flower essences should not replace important medical / psychological care. The purpose of the information provided on this web site is not to diagnose, prescribe, prevent, treat or cure. No medical claims are made

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