To Conform or Not to Conform?

100_1989Choosing to be like others or choosing to be different

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Walter Bagehot

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. Adlai Stevenson

Nothing pains some people more than having to think. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  There is a sense of safety and security that comes from being like everyone else, to fit in and not stand out. Conformity has its place. The more we conform the less likely we are to be judged, criticized or even noticed. Being normal is like being a card carrying member of society’s group comfort zone. It is a place to chill, vegetate, escape, be complacent and avoid confrontations. This has both good and bad connotations to it.

It is good for us to have a place to fit in and escape the pressures of life. Home is such a place. The saying that there is no place like home portrays safety, comfort and security. Conforming to the norm is like the concept of home is many ways. We can let our guard down, have fewer demands on us, back off and get lost in the crowd. Is there a problem with conforming; lowering expectations, fitting in and being like everyone else? There are tradeoffs. If being like everyone else fits our concept of success, joy and happiness; then conformity is a good thing for us. Do normal everyday people live the kind of lives we want? Are they fulfilled; have they achieved success? Many of them have what they want. Life meets their expectations. Some are frustrated but have they accepted lives of mediocrity?  Others are unsatisfied because their lives do not match their expectations or potential. Some are unhappy and know it, while others avoid thinking about such things. We try not to think about the things that make us uncomfortable. Everyone has to determine their degree of conformity. Society does require that we comply with certain of its expectations. The more we conform, the more we lose some of our individuality and uniqueness. Each of us does conform in our own individual way.

Everyone has a one of a kind brain, personality, heredity, and background. These things made us into what we are and greatly affects our aspirations. Some choose to march to the beat of different drummers; answering the desire to be different and willing to take some risks. Conformity is not their thing. For others, being normal may mean some compromise, escape; or even burying their heads in the sand. We do not find answers by avoiding life’s challengers. We must confront and deal with them. Maybe some of us conform more than we should.

Challenge: If you have an ache in your gut reminding you that life is not what it should be, you have issues that need to be dealt with. You do not have your ‘t’s’ crossed or ‘i’s’ dotted as they should be. There are the missing pieces to your puzzle. Your life is not in harmony. The ache will not go away by ignoring it or by burying your head in the sand. Finding joy and happiness depends on balancing your goals and desires with the life you live.

Wisdom: The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. George Bernard Shaw

Spiritual: (NIV)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11; 1

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were created to be unique individuals, but live in a world where we must live with and interact with those around us. We are also spiritual beings meant to interact and have a personal relationship with God. These choices conflict. Choosing worldly ways leads us away from our spiritual nature and our personal relationship with God. This is a very critical issue that requires our attention. We are not meant to live this life without God.

Prayer: Help me to live life balancing the secular world with the spiritual world according to God’s will.

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