March To The Beat Of Your Own Drum
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost
In a world where conformity is strongly encouraged, if not brutally enforced, expressing your individualism is an act of bravery. Every culture has their own list of acceptable norms, and any deviation from this list can result in undesirable consequences, including death. I would be both reckless & irresponsible if I didn’t state there’s a dark side to nonconformity. Things can go disastrously wrong when we choose not to conform at the wrong times. This is where discernment, morals, and common sense come into play. Unless you feel it’s worth dying for, don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Live to fight another day. I’m not encouraging you to risk your freedom. Or your life. I’m simply stating the road less traveled can bring a wealth of positive experiences under the right circumstances.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The world constantly attempts to dictate what’s acceptable, from clothing to hair to career choices to who you should be in a relationship with. It loves to dump its unsolicited opinions onto us. And the indoctrination begins at birth. In order to march to the beat of your own drum you must have a clear understanding of who you are and what’s important to you. Following trends can become exhausting. And expensive. Businesses tend to push new trends to generate more revenue. The fashionistas are never allowed to get too comfortable, because the fashion industry would suffer tremendously if everyone were to become content with the current styles. And the war between Android & iPhone users continues to rage on despite the fact it’s just a phone that takes pictures. The argument concerning camera quality is somewhat pointless when most users place filters on their images anyway. I’m slightly digressing, but I want you to see the subtle ways we’re being manipulated by retailers on a daily basis to both conform and stand out. The tattoo trend has exploded, with many believing it’s a way to express their individuality, without considering the fact they’re doing what everyone else is doing in order to be different. Even when attempting to be unique, conformity is still at play.
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Peer pressure, a double-edged sword, can be relentless. Positive peer pressure can result from seeing the people around you experience success in their endeavors…creating the desire to be successful as well. But it also has a dark side. Peer pressure has led to unethical behavior in an attempt to become successful, as well as criminal activity. The desire to fit in can be both stressful and deadly. Suicides have been committed due to the depression some experience from their inability to fit in. Therefore, it’s imperative you develop a strong foundation in the identity of your choosing. If you don’t know who you really are…the world will be more than happy to tell you who to be. The downfall to this is you can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try to conform, someone will find fault with you. Attempting to develop a fluid personality will leave you feeling depleted & lost.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Being true to yourself will create space for like-minded individuals to enter your life. The expression “water finds its level” is applicable. Following your own path and doing what makes you happy will lead you to your tribe. If you march to the beat of your own drum, it’s just a matter of time before you run into other individuals who match your cadence. But don’t allow yourself to become a slave to that cadence. If you feel the desire to switch it up, then do so. The goal isn’t to become trapped in a tribe, but to have the freedom to wander from it & return if you feel so inclined. Marching to the beat of your own drum requires bravery, but the spiritual freedom you gain will be priceless.
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