Updated: Apr 3, 2019
The power of conformity is a powerful thing, from the moment we are born we are shaped by our family, our friends, even the society we live in. Our natural traits and tendencies are also influenced by what is expected of us and, as we grow, to a greater or lesser extent we mould ourselves into the people that we are expected to be.
For instance, in polite society, native English speakers are expected to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ else we are thought of as rude however, to other nations, the British are known for their overuse of such language as other societies will only say ‘thank you’ in the event of extreme or especial acts.
This is just one instance where we are expected to 'conform' and throughout many cultures, or indeed within any group situation, there are many other instances too. The problem with ‘conformity’ is that, as we get older, we can find ourselves adhering to a set of ‘rules’ that feel they don’t fully agree with our own inherent sense of self. As a result we can sometimes end up feeling we are merely an extension of others, our child’s parent, our spouse’s partner, our own parent’s child.
I see ‘conformity’ as part of nature’s building blocks to bring society together and binding groups as, in conforming, the individual better serves the needs of the whole. However, in understanding where our needs are not being met as result of conforming to the expected norm and amending our behaviours accordingly, we can become a more solid, coherent, version of ourselves and, in doing so, live a more authentic life.
Founder, Elaine K Sullivan Ltd
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