It is common and completely normal to think you have complete control over your thoughts and actions. However, given how humans are nurtured and make sense of the world and environment around them, outside factors’ influence is inevitable.
In the present world, everything is interdependent. Your perspectives, attitudes, and action, and at times even yourself, are not wholly independent from other factors.
When information bombards you from every side, and when humans are increasingly connected, and there is an app for just everything, the things influencing you are numerous. At times you can be aware of the influences, but often the effect is subtle.
These influences could also be positive or negative. The bad influences hinder you from your progress while at the same time having a toxic impact on your life.
Bad influence meaning
So, what exactly is a bad influence? As Vocabulary.com puts it, “Influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something.” As such, an influence changes you indirectly but significantly. Therefore, a bad influence is something or someone that affects your thoughts, moods, attitudes, and even actions negatively.
Bad influences encourage your wrong actions and negative thoughts. They change your perception of things and yourself while distorting your plans and visions. You may not notice it at first, but with continued exposure to the harmful influences, they will affect you.
The nature of bad influences is such that, if not corrected, it can lead you down a path of degeneration and destruction. Some of the effects of bad influences include;
- Poor study habits among students
- Development of destructive beliefs and attitudes
- Substance and drug abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Poor work ethic
- Reckless behavior
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Poor decision making
Bad influences examples
Destructive influences are all around you, and you should not underestimate anything. Most of the time, what could be positive influences also can be a bad influence. Some of the bad influences present include;
- Toxic friends: your friends can be a negative influence mostly through peer pressure or be a source of negative energy and feeling about yourself.
- Bossy and toxic parents: some parents do not offer their children the autonomy that comes with growth. Such a parent may be micromanaging your decisions even in adulthood and be a constant source of criticism.
- Social media: while most social media platforms offer convenience to stay in touch with your friends, some can become toxic environments. They may affect your self-perception, be sources of cyberbullying, and internet arguments can take a toll on you.
- Relationships: your significant other may be toxic to you, or the situation becomes a source for a lot of mental anguish.
- TV programs, including political pundits, can also be a source of bad influence through misinformation and a skewed look at the world.
- Your work environment: workplaces can also have a negative influence from overbearing bosses to workmates who either lead you to make choices from the pressure of increase your negativity.
- The literature you read from newspapers to magazines and other content can also give a warped sense of reality. This could either be changing your attitudes for the worst or making you have the wrong self-image.
- Advertisements can pressure you to make the wrong choices or think you lack things others are having or which you must have. They may also affect your purchases or even cause anxiety.
- Your mind. At times what you put in your subconscious mind can be a source of bad influence. Self-criticisms and limiting wishes all affect your attitude and thoughts.
- Outside expectations. Living under the judgment and expectations of society can be overwhelming and a substantial negative influence. You are ultimately responsible for yourself, and the expectations and opinions of others should not affect you.
Bad influences of friends
Friends are an integral support system. When they are supportive, caring, and pushing you to become a better person, they are essential to your development. On the other hand, they can be quite detrimental. Here is a look at some instances of the bad influences of friends.
1. The pressure to do things you don’t want to do
Whenever you feel like being with your friends leads you to do things you don’t want to do, they are a bad influence. Whether it is hobbies, purchases, or even speech used, or generally being somewhat a different person from who you are, friends can have you doing things you usually would not want to do.
2. If you feel insecure
Friends can also make you feel insecure about yourself through their comments and actions and what they tell you. Bad friends can be negatively critical and make you have a poor self-image. Such instances may also lead you to take measures to earn their approval to the detriment of your wellbeing.
3. One-sided friendship
In other instances, you may be in friendships, which tax you a lot because you are the only one putting in the effort. When you start noticing this pattern, you are in an unhealthy friendship, and your efforts to maintain it will negatively influence you.
4. Are manipulative
Some friends can be manipulative too. If several encounters with your friends leave you feeling used and even abused, then your friends are manipulative and a bad influence on you.
5. Time management becomes poor.
A significant and understated bad influence from your friends is on poor time management. Friends can easily have you messing up your priorities by spending time on other activities, leaving your priorities lagging.
Bad influences of social media
Social media platforms offer plenty of advantages and unprecedented connectedness. You can communicate with a vast number of people and meet numerous people with shared interests.
Yet, it can also be a potent source of negative influence, including in the following ways;
1. Feelings of inadequacy
Social media can make you feel inadequate, especially on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You see the edited bodies and the flashy lifestyle everyone seems to be living, and you may feel you are doing poorly or are not sufficient.
Cyberbullying has risen with the explosion of numerous social media platforms. It manifests in different forms, from body shaming to racial insults and stalkers following you on all platforms. Cyberbullying can impact your social image or make you switch your ideas to conform to a pattern.
With the obsession over sharing images, events, and your opinion on everything, it is easy to forget there is another world besides you and your online followers. Being self-absorbed affects your ability for empathy and even relating to the real-world outside social media.
4. Depression and anxiety
The sad stories and your experiences on social media can get you depressed. Cyberbullying and online arguments, which at times resemble lynching and mob brawls, can affect you personally. On the other hand, things like the fear of missing out can increase your anxiety.
Research shows that social media leads to more isolation. When you are isolated, it is easy for your perception of things to be distorted. You are lonely, which increases chances for mental conditions like depression and magnifies your insecurities.
Bad influence of music
Like social media and friends, music can have both positive and negative influences. Studies show that music does impact the neurons in the brain and can even impair or boost certain cognitive functions.
One of the bad influences of music is that it can induce feelings of sadness and lower your mood or even leave you feeling drained. Music can also generate general anxiety instead of calming you down.
Another negative impact of music is normalizing antisocial norms ranging from aggressive attitudes to criminal and violent behavior.
Related reading: Scientific Studies on Positive Thinking – Opens in new tab.
How to avoid bad influences
Avoiding bad influences becomes essential for your wellbeing and the realization of your dreams. Here are steps to use to overcome bad influences.
1. Decide you are worth it.
You need to realize the impact bad influences are having on your life. They affect your health and derail your dreams. So, decide you are worth a fulfilling life where you live by your standards and oversee your improvement. If you do not feel you are worth it, then the desire to change will not be strong enough.
2. Identify the negative influences.
This step calls for reflection and self-awareness. You need to examine all sources of influence and trace negative ones and how they affect you. You should question the impact of everything around you, including your thoughts and actions.
3. Cut out your exposure to the negative influences.
Once you know where you are getting your negative influence, the next step is to reduce your exposure to them and ultimately cut them off completely.
4. Increase sources of positive influences
An excellent way to cut off the negative influences is to replace them with positive ones. For toxic friends and parents, find mentors and people succeeding in your field and who are willing to guide you. Get engaged in volunteering activities instead of spending much time on social media.
5. Set your goals and targets
Another important aspect of guiding you in the choice of influence is to have clear goals and targets. From there, you will be able to set your standards and choose the methods by which to judge yourself. You will also tell when you encounter a negative influence taking you away from your goals.
6. Set boundaries
An essential step in ridding yourself from bad influences is setting boundaries. You should guard yourself against friends, workmates, social media, and even mainstream media. Decide how much you will allow outside influence and where your control and opinion is central. This way, you can control and filter the influence you take in.
The first step in getting rid of the negative influences is recognizing them for what they are in the first place. In many circumstances, it can be as simple as replacing them with a positive one.
However, in some, the process can be a long and arduous one. You must decide and remember that your happiness is worth cutting the negative influences, even if it is friends. Increase your positive associations, and you will reap the benefits of positive influences while keeping the bad ones at bay.
Related reading: The Power of No: Tips to Build Healthy Boundaries – Opens in new tab.
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Featured Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay