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I've coined a new word to describe a destructive behavior that is not only very common, but expected in our society. People who apply logic and thus choose not to engage in this behavior are often the objects of scorn by those slavishly engaging in this behavior.
The peer pressure to engage in this behavior is so great that, despite the destruction wreaked on individuals and society, this behavior literally has a death grip on the hearts and minds of over 75% of the population in the USA.
The new word is "dyseating." It is an amalgamation of "dysfunctional" and "eating." Dyseating causes disease, disfigurement, and financial disaster. And it has other consequences.
Dyseating is when you forego smart food choices and instead ingest poison like wheat products, corn syrup, processed "foods," and junk that's calorie-dense and nutrient sparse. It makes no sense to give up not only the nutrition but the bounty of amazing flavors in real food. Even more senseless, the food is replaced with poison.
Peer pressure is, IMO, the main reason people abandon all logic and sense of self-worth to join in this destructive behavior. When I say self-worth, think about that. If you value yourself, why would you eat this way?
So, dear reader, let's assume you want to value yourself and make smart food choices but that peer pressure makes you feel like a criminal if you do. Else, you'd eat the way you really want to. Those peers, ugh.
Let's solve the peer pressure problem|
When I was a kid, peer pressure often left me feeling like a lesser being. I didn't give in to the peer pressure to do something stupid, but my not giving in had a cost. Basically, I didn't get the approval of peers.
In this context I use the term peers the way sociologists do. A peer is a member of your "group" (whatever that is) and peer pressure is pressure exerted on you in an extortionary way. Don't comply, and you face rejection by this group.
Remember the high school days? The so-called "cool kids" ruled. If they declared you an outcast, other kids avoided you lest they suffer the same fate. These kids were keen manipulators, and they had most other kids seeking their approval.
At first, I fell for this fraud. But not long into my high school career, I figured out a little secret. Those "cool" kids or "popular" kids were neither cool nor popular. They were just mean kids who assumed superiority, and then used abusive behavior to dominate other kids.
I stopped caring what they thought. Given what I learned, I coined a more accurate phrase. The vast majority of those kids were not my peers. They were, however, losers seeking to bring other people down to their level.
What we call "peer pressure" is more accurately called "loser pressure." People with delusions of adequacy try to pressure other people to behave in self-defeating ways. That kind of thing didn't end in high school. Most adults are controlled by it today. Dyseating is a case in point.
Once I figured out the whole fraud, I no longer felt a need to kowtow to these insecure, socially warped people. Today, I'm less confrontational and tend to simply ignore the bad behavior and do my own thing. Back in high school, I was maybe not so laid back about things. I would drop subtle hints of my displeasure over their behavior by, for example, tossing orange juice in their face.
But more often, I would confront their behavior with a direct statement. An alleged "cool" kid would say something mean to someone else, and I'd say, "That is just so not cool. What is wrong with you?" The "cool" kid expected groveling, not to be told he was being uncool.
When I figured out this worked with loser kids, I applied it to loser teachers also.
I had an English teacher who was condescending and mean toward her students. One day, she said something particularly mean to one of my classmates. In response, I stood up and said something like, "We're just kids. You're an adult. Why don't you try acting like one for a change? Try setting a good example, instead of tossing out all the undeserved insults. We're here to learn about literature, not how to behave badly toward others."
She was stunned. The other students were stunned at first, then they broke out into applause. She immediately called for silence then kicked me out of her class, thinking I'd stay in the hall and mope. But I went to the Principal's office and reported her. She gave me a C for the semester, in retaliation. I got that changed to an A, based on my actual test scores and other convincing evidence.
My whole case went under review by other English teachers, and they concluded I was an A student and had been wrongly graded for purposes of a personal vendetta. One of them remarked that I could not be held accountable for work she forced me to miss. Another regraded an essay she'd graded F and added pages of commentary explaining why it was A+ work. One of the teachers actually requested I be assigned to his class the following school year. How is THAT for approval?
So this proved that I did not need the approval of someone who was mean and insecure. I didn't even want it. This wasn't a peer pressure thing, but it was still a situation of someone trying to force me to adopt her own low standards of behavior. I would have none of it.
Give encouragement rather than seek approval
In high school, I actually developed a following of the ostracized. The nerds and rejects would come sit at whatever table I sat at during lunch. And I'd hold court with them. There'd always be some kid who was never listened to, and he'd get an audience.
It was interesting that my table got so crowded that we had to scarf chairs from other tables. The self-appointed "popular" kids had about half as many kids at their table. This earned me the animosity of most of the "popular" kids with whom I served on the student council. One of their childish reactions was to change the meeting dates and tell everyone but me.
There was one popular kid, Scott Hall, who was a star athlete. He was popular enough to be voted Homecoming King. But he always had a problem with this whole clique thing, and his example helped form my thinking. Scott never put anyone down. Ever.
Even many years later at class reunions Scott was the epitome of grace and class toward others. Scott also did well for himself in life. He's just the kind of guy you can't help but hug when you run into him at those "later years" class reunions.
I noticed a pattern that people with truly high standards didn't use the crutch of social pressure to manipulate others. Scott, for example, encouraged others to be their best. Scott was on our basketball team along with Larry Block. They were both superb athletes, but Larry was named our MVP. Scott, true to form, thought this was wonderful.
You might think Larry would have had a big head over that and would look down on others. Nope. Larry is the one who started me on my unbroken record of never missing a workout. In the summer of 1977, Larry stopped his training on the basketball court to visit me in the weight room. Larry practiced basketball every day. He never missed. He told me this, and then said he'd noticed I was training regularly too. He told me, "Don't ever stop." I replied that I wouldn't, and I've kept my word ever since.
Larry imparted his high standards to me that day. He didn't have to interrupt his training to do that, but he did. He invested in another human being rather than putting someone down. Unfortunately, Larry developed a disorder in his mid-20s; it led to his being homeless and he lost those talented fingers to severe frostbite. But I still carry his high standards onward.
Set high standards for yourself
Like Scott, I had substance to back my not going along with peer pressure. All of us are capable of having substance, it's just a matter of setting high standards and meeting them.
You can "pull off" the "I don't need your approval" persona if you do that because you don't need anyone's approval. You don't need to seek it, and you'll get approval that actually counts anyhow.
Rather than worry about whether people who are behaving poorly will approve of you, turn the tables. Hold high standards, so you are the one whose approval other people seek. This isn't particularly challenging, because most people have no standards. There's not a lot of competition.
When you set your own standards and meet them, you simply know that you are good--by definition. You have no psychological need to obtain the approval of people whose own standards range between low and nonexistent.
I make smart food choices and have the body to show for it because I have set high standards and have developed an immunity to peer pressure. You can do the same (if you have not already done so).
By high standards, I do not mean be a perfectionist. That's a situation of creating impossible standards and then failing to meet them. Set standards that are realistic and achievable for you.
Here's one standard that can set you apart socially as a desirable person: make it part of your personal standards that you simply do not gossip. For example, you're at a party and people start gossiping. You do not have to join in the depravity. Stick to your standards. Walk away, change the subject, or confront their behavior. You don't need their approval. Refuse to gossip, and you may get their respect anyhow. But why would you care whether you did or not?
I also don't mean you have to set high standards for everything. We all have different talents, interests, and abilities. It's really OK to have less than stellar standards in some areas (just don't be a total slacker). You don't have to be the best at everything, and trying will only frustrate you. I can make a long list of things I am not great at doing. I don't really care; those things are not in my set of standards.
You do, however, need to decide where you want to excel. And then make that happen.
Choose your areas of excellence
One kid at my school was not a particularly great student. I don't think he ever earned a letter in any sport. In some ways, he was an under achiever. He wasn't part of the alleged "in" crowd of "cool" kids (insecure self-important kids who used mean behavior to give the impression that everyone else needed their approval).
He certainly did not try to be the best at everything. But he was good at several things.
And he was extremely good at one thing; because of that, I'll bet you know his name.
He did not care who thought he was cool. However, he set the bar so high nobody at my school has matched it before or since. He is Robin Zander, the lead singer of Cheap Trick. And one very cool dude.
Regardless of what the allegedly "cool" or "popular" kids in high school thought at the time, Robin has out-cooled them all.
Most of the judgmental, abusive "cool" kids turned out to be failures in life. Robin, on the other hand, did quite well for himself. Yet, he is not self-absorbed or conceited.
Robin is what certain experts refer to as a "self-actualized human being." He makes his own choices in life. And he has the personal self-confidence and class to respect other people for who they are, rather than acting like some big shot (even though really he is a big deal). As a self-actualized human being, he doesn't have the insecurities that drove the alleged "cool" kids to behave so obnoxiously.
Robin is my ex-wife's age, seven years older than I. So we didn't actually go to school at the same time. But it was the same school and he used to come into the K-Mart where I worked when I was in high school (along with my buddy Russell, mentioned in the previous edition of this very eNL).
Robin was, despite being famous at the time, always gracious and polite to all of us. He even recommended some music not recorded by Cheap Trick. What a guy!
I haven't seen him in many years, so looked up his photo online. He looks fantastic for his age; my guess is he's making his own eating choices, just as he's ignored loser pressure and made his own choices since way back in his school days.
So what's your choice? Eating or dyseating? What standards did you set, and do they make you immune to loser pressure?
www.supplecity.com, you'll find plenty of informative, authoritative
articles on maintaining a lean, strong physique. It has nothing to
do with long workouts or impossible to maintain diets. In fact:|
You use 200 muscles to take one step. Exercise those muscles by walking away from socially irresponsible companies instead of giving them your business. A particular vendor of gasoline comes immediately to mind….
If unfinished tasks cause you to lose sleep, maybe you should just finish them.
Please forward this eNL to others.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader. Please pass this newsletter along to others.