“The reward for conformity is that everyone liked you except yourself.” ~ Rita Mae Brown
Kids, don’t try this at home.
Conformity isn’t a dirty word. There are plenty of good reasons for societal norms. Yet, what’s most damaging in human terms, is why many feel it necessary to conform within themselves.
Hello Divorce, Goodbye Marriage
- Too fearful people won’t like me.
- Too fearful HE won’t like me.
- Too fearful my KIDS won’t like me.
- Too fearful. Period.
Conformity lessens, even deadens our fear, though the fear never dissipates until we are ready to combat it. Took me a zillion years to figure this out. Like a series of Edison moments, light bulbs popped. Unfortunately, most, if not all significant enlightened “ah-ha’s” occurred post divorce.
As my marriage journeyed on, I found myself as a lesser entity, didn’t dig the person I’d become. Of course, I hadn’t an inkling of clarity, though I knew enough to realize not all was right in Kansas anymore. Conformity was my haven, a place to pretend, a way to talk myself out of something I believed to be true. As with all things caged, I wanted out. [Please let me be clear: my former husband, in no way, caged me. Yes, he is responsible for his own behavior which affected me, though that is his voice to share, not mine. Too often, we tend to blame the other for our own creations. I believe he embraced my conformity and didn’t quite know what to do when I began to find a way out.]
Conformity broke this person’s spirit. It robbed her of her true self. Don’t let it happen. It need not have to. Question your values, your beliefs, your reasons why you feel the need to conform. Throw yourself out there in the world, seek a higher being. There is so much more to life than ourself. As one who is living a spiritual life I’m loving these days, I’ve struggled with conformity and religion. What is a Christian supposed to look like? How will others judge me? Shall I conform to other’s expectations so I might come across as a strong enough believer in God? I digress.
Getting back to now, I transformed into the person I always was. A better version with less fear of not being accepted, valued, validated, liked. Rebellion manifests itself because we fight within our beliefs. I fought to find a voice with my marriage partner. I fought to understand my own unhappiness. I fought to keep from submerging. I created a world in which I didn’t know how to get out of. Once broken, extremely shattered for a time, there is solidity in healing. One won’t completely heal by conforming to what we believe others expect of us. Never too late to break out broken and come back solid.
I’m out. Closet, wide open.
The people who know me, who want to understand me, they are the keepers. One need not like me. No explanation required. I’m not cracked up with every single person I meet in life either. I do, however, have a greater propensity to empathize with others who are in pain, who were or are broken. Being broken tends to open a heart wider. One has the ability to conform to greater empathy. Societal norms are best served when conformed to our true selves.