Look at this picture of me.
Now, let me tell you something, I don’t smoke.
Sounds unbelievable you say? Looks like I should be, maybe?
I get that all the time.
For the life of me, I seem to give the wrong– if not bad — impression to most people I meet.
Apparently to some, I have a "bad boy" look which doesn’t give a shit about smiling.
It’s pretty ironic that most of my close friends now tell me stuff like: "I never liked you when I first met you…
… but after talking to you, you aren’t really an asshole."
And I’m like, "Haha err okay… Thanks?"
Maybe this doesn’t sound normal to you, giving off a shitty vibe to people. It’s kind of as if I lead a dangerous life.
No man, not at all.
I love being me – not smoking, bad boy looks and everything. So what if my first impression sucks?
There’s a whole lot to this not-giving-in-to-peer-pressure factor, standing your ground and ultimately being yourself.
Live the person you’re meant to be, and good things will come.
First Cigarette At 10!?
My first trial by fire (get it?) came when I was only 10. I was hanging out with a boy who was older than me at the playground when he started smoking. At first I was like, "Wow underaged smoking".
He offered me a puff. I froze…
At that timeless moment it hit me like, “Oh wow, isn’t this the part where I’m supposed to say no, like how school has taught me?”
Oh yeah, a little education here. You see, back then in school they decided to plant it in us little young kids that smoking was bad. Not only would you get bad breath and stuff, you would mostly likely become a bad person.
I stared at the cigarette. It felt like the crossroads, angel and devil in front of me. Two simple words, "yes" or "no", would make a huge ass difference FOR THE REST of my life.
And with that, I said “no.” From then on, I sort of knew that I had it within myself to continually refuse all offers of smoking or resist any kinds of temptation.
Why Is It I Never Took Up Smoking?
It’s like a non-smoker’s thing, a streak you just want to keep in your life. It’s kind of unexplainable. I’m sure everyone has that special something in you that you just want to keep unique to yourself.
Secondly, it was for practical reasons. I didn’t want my health or stamina to be affected in anyway, especially since I am a Bboy. I mean yeah, there are many awesome Bboys who smoke, but I was afraid it would slow me down anyway.
Also, I didn’t want to spend on cigarettes. I’d rather save them for other stuff. At the end of the day, I know smoking is jus’ something I can live without.
Just for the record, I got nothing against smokers, not at all.
It’s just a little habit people form. Other than that, I don’t think smoking indicates the content of one’s character. Most of my friends smoke and I freaking love them!
Peer Pressure Can Weigh You Down
You may be thinking, “But Alden, there are so many smokers around you, wouldn’t you feel left out?”
Like, being that loner with no friends?
No I didn’t feel left out. It wasn’t like people who smoke started avoiding me like the plague and talking shit about me (remember, smokers are not assholes).
But most of all, I didn’t feel left out because I knew what I was doing. And that gave me the confidence in being different.
You see, everybody has friends, and with that, you feel a need to actually fit in. Sadly, there are many people who fail to recognize that some friends are toxic and start giving in to the wrong kind of pressure and influence.
Fitting in, blending in, following the crowd– call it whatever you want. They’re all fine.
Everybody wants to fit in. Right?
It’s okay to belong, but be sure it’s NOT at the cost of your own self. And it’s unfortunate that people forget about that and simply conform just so they that they be “normal”.
I say this then: Sometimes, just forget about trying to fit in and belong.
If you find that you have to try too hard, screw it. Walk away.
We’re all human and we want to be happy, that is why we should actively surround ourselves with positive people.
Smoking happens to be the band-aid I never bothered to put on. What’s the band-aid you want to rip off? A shitty job with a crappy boss? An ongoing, unhealthy relationship? An addiction?
The bottom line: Ask yourself what’s truly bothering you before you conclude that it’s “normal” and it’s okay at that because everyone else is doing the same thing.
Standing Strong In Your Faith
Okay I hear you. You’re asking, "How do you stay so strong and confident then?"
It’s kind of easy.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, but it’s just smoking” like it’s just some little aspect of life.
Be that as it may, but you know what? You’re actually missing out on the major benefits of actually standing your ground and not giving in to the crowd.
And that is respect.
You may not be indulging in the same things they do, but if you show signs of independence and maturity, people would not only respect you just for being who you are…
…but even admire you!
Remember the aforementioned faces of awe?
People hardly believe I don’t smoke. I don’t get ripped on for that. People just get surprised and wonder how I do it, despite my pro-smoking surroundings.
Now, extend this assertiveness to something even bigger, and that is keeping a clear conscience and living the person you are meant to be.
Feel deep down in your heart and check the greatest feelings which come about.
Now, FOLLOW THEM all the way.
Hell, do this and you don’t even have to deal with pressure. The pressure just gives way to you.
It’s my personal belief that as long as you follow your heart and keep your conscience clear, good things will arise and manifest in your life automatically. And when I say automatic, I’m talking about getting the good stuff without any kind of effort. I mean… It’s just being yourself. Along with that comes little universal truths like believing in yourself, not giving up and being happy.
You can’t go wrong with that. So do it.
Breath Of Fresh Air
Well, sharing my non-smoker’s story felt like a breath of fresh air, so I’d like to thank you all for your attention for my Ryze guest post. But actually, the truth is, I’m always breathing fresh air.
You can too, when you realize you have all the power in the world to create your own path and be happy.
So how about you? How do you feel about smoking, peer pressure, and taking a stand? Let me know in the comments!
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