The Pressures to Conform

Just a quick note, my blog is primarily based on personal views and experience, sometimes referring to research and some background information, with the aim of helping anyone who may be suffering, or know of anyone suffering from a mental health illness. I haven’t written in a while, so let’s see how this goes. I would welcome any advice and feedback on my blogs, or your personal thoughts on the topic.
Why are we always searching for others acceptance? To fit in with the ‘crowd’? To keep up with the latest trends, fashions, technology updates, etc.?

Fact is, the majority of us (whether we like to admit it or not), are always searching for others to accept us, and to ‘fit in’ with everyone else. This happens constantly, from the way we dress; the way we talk, walk, and interact with each other; right through to editing and moulding the way we are, just to be accepted. All for what – just for others to treat us with respect.

The fact is, we’re all different. Each and every single one of us. We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. There’s no 2 people in this world who are completely, and totally the same. It’s this uniqueness of each individual that makes each of us our own person. It’s this uniqueness that brings the special skills and expertise that we need in the world, to develop the world we live in. We need people to be ‘different’.
So, you might be wandering how this relates to mental health (seeing as that is what this blog page is about)?

Well, conformity is described as ‘behaviour in accordance with socially accepted conventions’.

I think it can be agreed upon that some of these ‘socially accepted conventions’ are necessary in the world in which we live. However, who actually creates this ideal ‘socially accepted’ way of dressing, of talking, and of each of our personalities.

Really? I mean, no one actually sets these out in a set of written rules, do they? There’s no one way of ‘behaving’; there’s not just one personality type; and there’s billions of people on Earth. How can we all be expected to be the same, right? Well, we’re not … we’re all able to be different. That’s what makes life interesting really. Interacting with the same (type of) people all the time is actually quite boring!

From a young age, these ‘socially acceptable’ ways of behaving are ‘drilled’ into our minds, and we’re made to think that there is only a specific acceptable personality type. Instead, from a young age, children should be supported and encouraged with developing skills that they may possess, even if these are considered ‘different’.

This also relates to one of previous blog posts on gender stereotypes (https://mind1matters.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/the-pressure-to-be-a-man-gender-stereotypes-and-mental-health/), and can also relate to differences in ethnicity, religion, background, etc. These can all also have an impact on the way we all behave, restricting us all from being ‘ourselves’. There is constantly pressure on us all to behave in a certain way, speak in a certain manner, and simply just mould ourselves into the ‘perfect’ ideal, when in fact, no one is ‘perfect’ (whatever that is, anyway).

This constant pressure to have a particular, expected, ‘socially acceptable’ personality can really affect us all. We’re constantly being judged for the way in which our personality is shown through our behaviours, the way we act, talk, dress, interact with others. I mean, think about it, we’ve all said (at least once), ‘what a weirdo’, based upon our own perceptions of what is ‘normal’. But, to be honest, who are we really, to distinguish between what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘weird’. They’re really both just social constructs – developed over time. These ‘socially accepted’ (stereotypical) constructs influence the way in which we all behave (well, most of us anyway). Attitudes and social stigma towards being ‘different’ are, however, beginning to change, and in the past few years, there’s been a lot about being unique, and embracing your personality. Again, as mentioned in other posts, this relates to stigmas being formed, which need to change.

I’ll end with a quote that I recently found:

‘Being called weird is like being called limited edition, meaning you’re something that people don’t see that often. Remember that.’ – Would you rather be considered ‘normal’ (and be the same as every other person), or ‘weird’ (and be your own person)?

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