How many times have you gone into a social situation and been pressured to give in to that food or substance that you swore you didn’t want to eat or ingest anymore. It is far easier to give in to the temptation of chocolate cake and red wine when you’re surrounded by the people you love who are also indulging in chocolate cake and red wine.

It may not even be someone directly pressuring you but the notion that the people you are socializing with are taking part makes the decision seem easier to give in to. There is an undeniable power to the sharing of addictive substances. It creates a bonding space when you share an addictive substance with someone.

Indulging in the food with someone else actually allows you to feel less guilty in the moment for having something addictive. The aftermath of indulgence, however, does not disappear just because you indulged with a friend or family member.

The reality of these bonding moments is that they have become ingrained in many of our family traditions. Almost all of the occasions at which we indulge are occasions where those we love most come to gather – think birthdays, christmas parties, Superbowl Sunday and so on.

This trend can also be seen when we travel away from home and start to crave foods from our childhood. The smells and aromas of the meals and foods we ate at home are attached to stored memories that are associated with a feeling of comfort and safety of being at home. This is our instinctive way to feel safe in situations where we may be out of our comfort zone.

So what can you do when instincts and social pressure are telling you that you should definitely reach for that piece of cake? The number one thing to remember in these situations is that you should never make others feel bad about their decisions. That also means that their decisions do not need to affect yours.

If you’re feeling like you might give into the pressure, take a moment and tune into what you’re actually feeling. Ask yourself whether or not you are actually feeling as though you want that piece of cake or glass of wine or if it’s simply the pressure of the situation that is making that substance seem like the obvious choice.

Strong choices make for a strong life and we are often faced with the opportunity to make weak choices because they are so easy to make. If you can find it within yourself to make the strong choice which is often the harder one, those choices will eventually become easier and easier and lead you to a place of resilience and empowerment.

On the other hand if we constantly take the weak path because it is the easiest in the moment, then we build a life from those decisions. This is not to demonize having a piece of cake because sometimes that piece of cake is altogether the best decision to make and you know you absolutely need it in the moment.

The key difference in determining whether the decision you are about to make is the right one or the weak one is how you feel about the decision. You can figure this out simply by asking yourself what you’re feeling and be honest with yourself. Do I want this cake simply because it’s right in front of me or do I genuinely, to my core, feel as though this cake will make me feel better in the long run?

Once you’re able to tap into the truth behind that question, the social pressure starts to fall away and your ability to make the strong decision allows you to create a strong life.