That little red devil on your shoulder saying “go on have one more?”, “a little won’t hurt you?” or “just this once” — under what circumstances have those thoughts run through your mind? It could be after you had a few alcoholic bevvies, maybe hanging out with a group of friends, or reading something on the internet or maybe it was a song you heard or a movie you watched; it could even be a relative or a church member! We all have them bad influences that lead us into temptation and bad behaviour — could be gambling, stealing, smoking, drinking, overeating, violence, adultery or unprotected sex. And when shit hits the fan, those people or those influencers are nowhere to be seen.
I am no psychologist, so I can’t speak about dealing with bad influences. So, I asked Professor Google and I found interesting that the search “dealing with bad influences” mainly brings up pages giving parents advice on how to handle bad influences (particularly friends) on their children. I read a few websites and wondered if the advice given to parents can help adults as well.
One website suggest that “poor self-esteem sometimes leads to teenagers choosing friends who may be a bad influence.” Self-esteem affects almost every aspect of our lives, from how we think about ourselves to the way we think about or react to life situations. If you have low self-esteem you are less likely to care for yourself and have a negative attitude. You are also more likely to feel unloved and easily end up in the wrong company to seek acceptance. One website suggested you can develop a positive self-esteem by stopping comparing yourself to other people. No more ma-jealousy! It turns you evil and mean, lowers your self-esteem and hence leads you to do something silly.
I liked this one: “Practice beforehand how to confront your friends.” Know what you are going to say to that friend who always suggests going to dodgy drinking spots or a causal sexual partner that suggests unprotected sex.
But I think the most useful piece of advice is: “Make new friends.” However, friends are not the only bad influences we have in our lives. I would love to hear from readers about bad influences that you have had and how you have dealt with them.