I think the number one roadblock on the spiritual journey of young people is wanting to be liked. When I was young (and even I was older) I was often tempted do things in a group I would never do on my own. It is hard to be the person who says, “That’s simply wrong” or “I don’t think it is right to say that”. It is easy to be tempted to do things we know are wrong in order to feel we are part of a group that matters to us or to keep friendships we feel are important, even if giving in to temptation makes us feel guilty about what we’ve done.
That is even more true when we are in love. We are tempted to do things that violate our own personal values in order to please someone we love, especially when we are young.
It is good to have friends and to desire new friendships. It is good to experience love. These things are easier and more rewarding, though, if we trust and honor our own values and our own self-esteem.
I believe no one should ever do anything to make someone else’s values seem unimportant and I am suspicious of the friendship or love of anyone who belittles my desire to practice the things I believe in.
Every time I have stood up for my beliefs and values, or for my self-esteem, or for my faith, even when that was difficult or painful--I have felt stronger in my spiritual journey and I have felt better about myself. Every time I have gone along with something I did not believe in, I have felt weaker in my faith and I have lost a piece of my own self-esteem.