Compliance with standards, rules, and laws. Behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards.
Conformity involves changing your behaviors in order to “fit in” or “go along” with the people around you.
Ahhhh conformity. We are all bound by it to some degree or another. Some of us willingly and unflinchingly go along with things even if we might have other ideas in our heads. Conformity silently and effectively directs our paths, thoughts, and ways of doing things.
Now hold on…. I already sense some of you might be thinking…well… you can’t just do what you want all the time….
So true. Catch the first part of the definition. To me it applies to the things in life that are kind of non-negotiable.
You have to follow laws and rules of government. You have to respect signs when you’re driving, you have to act like a respectable, decent citizen, you can’t just go blazing your way through the day and have no regard for the “structure” that we all operate in… and we have that for order and a lack of chaos.
Although… sometimes… when I get mail that states “Open now! Urgent! Open immediately!” I love just shredding it and ignoring it’s demands to do what it says. The bulk mail stamp gives it away as “junk mail”
I’m such a rebel. haha
Anyway, I digress. Now that we’ve established my post isn’t about disrupting world order by not conforming….
Let’s address where I’m coming from. The second part of the definition…
behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards.
I like how Webster’s defines it :
Simple Definition of conformity
: behavior that is the same as the behavior of most other people in a society, group, etc.
: the fact or state of agreeing with or obeying something
Again on some levels, we will all conform. We do it most likely, unknowingly at times. Other times, we move along with others to just not make waves, stand out, or be different. We don’t want to cause “conflict” or have others think of us in a different way so we just blend in. We keep out thoughts, opinions, personal likes/desires to ourselves as if being different was… a bad thing.
Having a daughter in high school, that theory is very much alive and well. I’m always telling her not to be a “sheep” following along with everyone without thinking for herself and doing what she wants. I might be having a margin of success with this but I fully understand it can take some maturity to get to that point too. When you are in high school you simply must do what everyone else does.
Like sheep, we often go along with the herd. It’s comfy, right? You’re all alike and have the same focus and it requires no effort. Trust me….I’ve been a sheep too. I still am in many situations. Sometimes it’s ok to just be in the herd and hang out in the safety of all being focused in the same way. Sometimes… for me… it’s easier to stay there because it requires no effort to push me out of the fold.
But…. even then… my sheep mind is very, very active. And really, I wanna be the different sheep.
I guess with age I’ve learned some things. Yes, my mother taught me well to be polite, respectful, courteous, pleasant even in the face of difficulties, to respect those older than me, and to obey appropriate laws, rules and authority.
But…. I’ve also learned it’s ok to be… me. To think for myself, have my own take on things even if it doesn’t mesh with those around me or even closest to me.
It’s ok to not conform to an “expected” social norm. I make jokes about there being some societal “rule book” but who the heck wrote it ? and why am I supposed to blindly follow along with it…like a …sheep ?
As stated, getting older and understanding myself better and really at some points being unwilling to stay in “the box” it has allowed me to move into some areas of life where I freely, and unapolgetically feel no need to conform for anyone.
For instance, years ago when getting multiple ear piercings got boring, I had my nose done ( and yes it made my eyes water some ha) I still have it. I love how fun and carefree it is. I remember standing in line for coffee one day when a man asked me if it was just “stuck on”. I gave him my best smile and said… “nope, I have a hole in my nose” … the look on his face…. I also got a couple other unique piercings after that one…simply because I wanted to, and why not?
Or the fact I’ve been around people with tattoos for years. I have admired the art work and reasons each person had for doing it. I never felt led towards getting one… just to “get one”. To me, that is one of the most personal and almost intimate things a person does with themselves so I just wouldn’t do it to be “trendy”.
Until a specific thing began to get very real and very personal to me… enough to move me into the commitment to get my first one. And if you’ve read my other posts, you know I collected a couple more tattoos since then, pretty much a half sleeve worth. Each one with meaning and importance to me.
Maybe it’s not what a lot of middle aged women are doing…but then as mentioned… I’m not interested in conforming into a societal “norm” of what everyone my age is supposed to be doing.
I want to be out of the box… I don’t mind pushing back against the status quo…I want to experience things and don’t want to be forced to conform to expectations that are blindly followed by the majority.
“You are supposed to do this”, “You can’t do that”, “You must act this way, not that way”…
I don’t want to “conform” to those patterns. Does that make me a bit of a rebel? Maybe.
I’ll take that chance.
Or maybe it just makes me free to be who I want to be without worrying about someone else’s thoughts or opinions… to be free from staying in the box of conformity…..
To voice my own thoughts (respectfully) but be able to speak them and not feel like… I can’t or shouldn’t…because those around me don’t feel the same… to view the world through my own eyes and not someone else’s….to find beauty in things others don’t… to live out loud…. to embrace my own style through how I dress and ways I express myself.. well.. it’s hugely freeing.
There’s nothing I love more than encountering people who march to the beat of their own drum and who are doing it quite unapologetically. Inevitably, these people resonate with me.
In this world, we will all share many common things that do conform us. It’s a natural, and in some way, a necessary part of society.
But don’t forget, you, are still a unique individual designed and purposed to stand out on your own… let that shine 🙂