Social Pressure : The Norm to Conform

They Say It All

 

They say you gotta cuss; you gotta play rough.

Your attitude’s just not cool enough.

They say go bold; gotta strut your stuff.

Your modest garb ain’t cool enough.

They say, “Being ‘You’, is a huge drawback”.

It’ll only earn you a lot of flack.

They say, ‘We got your back’;

‘We’ll cut you some slack’.

If you walk their walk;

And talk their talk.

And tick to their tock;

And click to their clock.

They say, ‘Follow the herd’;

‘Ain’t easy being a free bird’.

They say theirs is the only word;

So tag on; can’t risk being unheard.

They say, ‘Try to blend; stay on trend’.

‘Bend backwards or simply pretend’.

They say, ‘Ain’t any good if we do not commend’.

You need them all to help you ascend.

Now all you care is what they’ll say.

Throughout your life, they’ll have their way.

You need their approval to make your day.

Striving away just to hear, ‘Yes you may!’

You’ll do just fine staying true to yourself.

You’re not another trophy upon their shelf.

Tell them, ‘My coolest version is being myself’.

“I’d rather be ‘Me’, than your second best self”.

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Are we really hardwired to conform to the dictates of an imposing crowd? Is our individual trace not strong enough to assert itself? Weren’t we born distinct with our inherent qualities and exceptional talents? Why then do we fall prey to social pressure? Why do we feel the need to fit in?

Social pressure or peer pressure isn’t just something that kids or teenagers deal with, it’s something that even adults struggle with. There’s a strange longing in all of us to belong. We want to be part of a group where everyone finds us acceptable and gives us that much needed sense of security. It’s not strange then to see to what extent people are willing to go to match up to the standards of others. They often end up completely stamping out their own individuality and losing all sense of self.

In schools and universities one can easily see how peer pressure works; it’s an explicit model of how the world functions at large. We have the popular kids groups, the Jocks, Preppies, Goths, Emo, Nerds….there are probably more and the existing groups might evolve further. You need to tune into the attitude, behavioral patterns and values of a particular group if you want to share the label. It’s a real challenge and kids are sometimes willing to do anything to get accepted. We might shrug off this issue as something that only affects insecure and immature minds but we give in to social pressure too more often than we would like to admit to.

The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the words we use and even the people we associate with are sometimes a result of the influence of society. People dress to conform to the expectations of others or simply because it’s the ‘In Thing’. It might not be the most comfortable or decent apparel but it gets them within the circle and saves them being treated as a social misfit. We even end up altering our opinions based on what’s trending. Social conformity is definitely not just something that defines our physical identity but it works deeper to displace our beliefs, value system and ingrained ideologies.

It’s really easy to keep talking about believing in yourself and doing the right thing but it’s only a great deal of persistent effort that can help us retain our individuality. We were not born to conform to other individuals, there is more to our existence. We are stronger only by our convictions and faith; designed to stand our ground and shine out with our own unique stature in this world.

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Do you find social pressure alarming? Did you face any peer pressure challenges at school or work? Do share your thoughts.

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26 thoughts on “Social Pressure : The Norm to Conform

  1. Cristina Leau

    I think we all feel the social pressure at least once in our lifetime. I felt it a lot, as a teenager even as an adult. I don’t look as good as I could, I gain a lot of weight in the past years and I think this is my present social pressure, and probably the one women are feeling pretty often.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mehtab Ziauddin

    Well, a fantastic poem & an even wonderfully articulated write up.
    At some insecure & vulnerable point in life every individual goes through such social pressures. It is the ability & courage how a person handles it & comes out strong, unscathed & successful making a mark of his own rather than follow the herd.
    Never really like being a follower myself of any group so would stand my ground & do my own thing.
    I definitely approve the image of the guy walking away & carving a niche for himself instead of trying to follow the others.
    But we always require the help of God to be successful in this world & the other.
    With that said, I believe that putting your trust & faith in Him, we can achieve anything & become a shining example for your own family & others….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mohammed Ashfaq

    You should try to be yourself even if it is a difficult choice. Success will follow if you work hard and stay on track. This poem and article reflects this idea well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anwar khan

    All people are not born with the same qualités and same mentality. This is an inborn aspect common to every one but they want others to follow the same path. At an early âge many people get confused and mismanage their lives. There is nothing wrong to listen to others opinions but one should think before implenting it to their lives. Good topic very well arranging in a beautiful poetical form.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the message here. It’s best to just be you. If you fit in, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world. Some of our greatest contributors to the world didn’t fit in!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amber

    I used to care, but now I don’t. I am who I am and if people don’t like it, oh well. Not my problem. I tell my kids to be themselves too. Normal is boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nihal

    Nice read !! I personally never cared if I fit in with the crowd and conformed with the norm. For me it is very important to stay true to myself . It think it also depends on the kind of friends you make who don’t force their sensibilities or habits on you. I guess I made the right friends 🙂

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  8. Well it has been a while since I left high school, so I do not feel it as strongly. As someone who lives overseas, I’m always trying to figure out the cultural norms in a new place as to not offend people. I think that, though, is different than just being true to yourself.

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  9. I think everyone feels social pressures to conform from time to time. I guess sometimes there are norms that are about control. And other times norms have a purpose. If the norms are only there to control you, or change who you are at your core, that’s a problem. But if they exist to be able to allow society to function, that’s a whole other issue.

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  10. This is a great post on social pressure. It is not only for teens but for adults too but as adults we have more self control. I used to hang out with some shady characters as a kid but didn’t do all the stuff they did because some of it was wrong. Maybe a lot of how you grow up or your enviroment has something to do with your uprising. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  11. I am so glad I read this when I was younger I tried to fit in the social norms which at the end made me miserable. I think we should find our own individuality and what make us happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There is nothing more important than being yourself, don’t try to conform with others due to social pressure. I don’t give a gap for peer pressure in any way. Peer pressure most of the time do have a negative impact on kids. Always be yourself, stay focus and be happy.

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