What happened to originality? What happened to standing out? When someone says that they like you better when you're yourself, are you really being yourself? What is style anymore?
Don't answer any of those. Seriously.
Want to know what rules my generation (and probably a couple generations before)? Conformity & fitting in.
In case you aren't sure what conformity is, it is defined by Webster as behavior that is the same as the behavior of most other people in a society, group, etc.
Whenever we change our behaviors, actions, appearance, or anything about us for that matter in response to what we assume others may think, we are experiencing conformity.
In my opinion, conformity sets off a chain reaction of events, whether positive or negative it's what fuels the fire, conformity makes the world go round.
Just simply obeying laws is conformity.
Why we conform is another thing. Most psychologists and those with common sense would say that we as humans conform to be liked by another person or group, in other words, fit in. Everyday we look for the latest ways to stay fit, get rich, look good or do whatever society deems favorable.
We conform if we are unsure about a situation. We look to others to see how we should react in the given situation. If you have a friend who you believe gives great advice and you turn to them for it, you then conform to their beliefs. It's like we truly believe what that friend says is totally correct. When we go against the grain of conformity we experience discomfort, a lowering of self-esteem, even if we know that what we are conforming to is wrong.
Conformity rules the media, it rules the perception of what the ideal woman looks like in society, or what the ideal man should do to please his significant other, I can go on forever.
A lot of what we see on TV is out to make us want to be the same way. It sells.
Others around us shape our behaviors. Their actions are the reasons for our actions. The cliché of "if they went and jumped off that cliff would you do it too?" is still very much alive. Honestly, we all would jump off that cliff if we seen everyone else do it because it just seemed like the right thing to do, right? I mean everyone else did it, right?
Also, the urge to fit in controls each and every one of us, if we let it of course. Every one of us has let the allure of fitting in get the best of us. Even the people who make it their business to tweet that they aren't like everyone else, that they are their own person, that they don't need anyone; they are their own "in-crowd".
Man shut up.
Wanting to fit in can rule your life in more ways than you could ever imagine. I mean, showing that you crave fitting in occurs in a plethora of ways. It's a natural feeling to want to be accepted by everyone. I know you're asking yourself, "Who actually takes pride in being disliked? Who embraces rejection?"
So how can wanting to fit in control us you ask? Well here's a couple of ways. . .
Letting Everyone Know Your Status
This is my favorite one; it's the most common one in my opinion. It's nothing wrong with having nice things and wearing them or using them, but is it that deep that your goal is to have your Instagram comparable to that of someone actually making real money and not like you, going half with your parents or spending your whole part-time job paycheck on the rarest J's or one piece of clothing? It's something we obsess over. It's sad to keep it real.
I love having nice things, no one should have a goal to possess anything less, but since we regular folks, or, better yet, people who aren't yet making the money the people who can actually afford high-end materials without it killing them, we are on a mission to buy those same things because it makes us feel good. But again, since we aren't actually in a real position to afford those things, this phenomenon becomes double-edged because it can put us in debt. Then you can't even buy your girlfriend, much less yourself a 6-piece at McDonald's because your account is done due to your latest high-end fashion purchase.
Have you ever been with a group of friends and they were engaging in something that you know wasn't something you do? You know, doing something that made you uncomfortable? You knew all along that it wasn't the right thing to do, but to avoid rejection and ridicule you did it anyway? In other words, have you ever done something that you knew that if your mom witnessed it she'd beat your ass? If so, you're a victim of conformity.
Conforming in a group effort doesn't always have to be a negative thing. It has its pros, as with most other things. For example, being on a sports team gives you a chance to be with people that are as interested as you are in that particular sport. You create a bond with someone who understands the way you feel. Sports teams help you make friends, learn new skills, and is great exercise. So, feeling the need to belong isn't always a bad thing.
Anyway. . .
Whatever you decide to do, consider if your reasons justify your actions. Before unconsciously adopting everyone else's principles, ask yourself is it really worth it to be unoriginal or is this against your personal code of morality. Wanting to impress others is another thing, but the same rules of action apply. Ask yourself if compromising the real you worth an assumed higher opinion from others.
YOU AS A PERSON CAN FIGHT THE POWERS OF CONFORMITY. You must know what you stand for, because ultimately, you have to live with the decisions you make. Is it really important for everyone to like you? I mean there are people who share similar interests that don't require any type of special impression for acceptance. Surround yourself with those people. Simply being aware of the nature of human interaction is the greatest way to overcome our conformist tendencies. We must realize our mistakes, take responsibility for our actions, assert our unique identities and pay attention to our surroundings.
We all are victims. Denying the fact that we do not conform is more bad than good.