In a world where it is not so easy to be true to your own self, the best thing you can do for yourself is to know yourself and stay true! It is a struggle many times, but to live the life that is the best for you and your happiness, you should follow your own path.
Any human being who lives in any community is under the pressure at some point to be like ‘the others’. We all want to be like the majority at some point in order to be more accepted, more loved and more popular in our community.
This pressure starts already in our childhood, in school, where we all want to be like the ‘cool’ kids. But the ‘cool’ kids are not necessarily the best ones, and they often do not turn out to be the happiest and most successful adults. Teenagers often engage in activities like smoking, drinking, drugs, gangs only because of this peer pressure, they want to be cool and accepted by others.
I believe this peer pressure does not end with the teenage years, as an adult, you are still highly influenced by the people you spend the most time with, whether they are friends or colleagues.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” (Jim Rohn)
Most adults spend the most time at work; so if you are working with other people, your colleagues are going to put the same kind of pressure on you. Of course, you want to get on with your colleagues, because you work together as a team. If it is a good team, you might even go out for a coffee, for a drink or for dinner together. You try to fit in, but what if your colleagues have different values than you? Do you go with the group, or do you draw a line? Do you become like them, or you keep following your own values outside work? What if your colleagues like to go out drinking every week, and you prefer not to drink alcohol and spend your time with more meaningful activities?
It is all about personal preferences and values, but one could get seriously lost with a group of people just because they have tried to fit in. Maybe they will spend their whole life drinking after each working week, while they could have followed that hobby or passion they originally had before they started to be like ‘the others’.
Personally I never belonged to the coolest or most popular members of a group, but I never even wanted to. You can always choose the people that resonate with you most, and have a few real friends rather than a lot of fake ones. I have tried to change myself occasionally to fit in, but it never felt right. I have always been aware of who I really am; and with a bit of life experience now, I am even more confident in my personal values. I am who I am, and I am not going to change my values just to fit in. I might change them for myself, but not for a group of people.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” (Dr. Seuss)
Let’s just conclude that we do need to fit in to our communities to a certain level. We can gain a lot from these social connections, but sometimes we need to draw a line and not forget who we really are, our own values, what we live for and what is the most important to us.
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