Why Do We Abandon Principles?

Why do we lower our standards in areas we hold dear, and yet remain unmoved in areas of less importance? This happens all the time during teen years, but the need to fit in and be “normal” doesn’t completely abandon us in adulthood. It may not be as obvious, and the pressure may be more internal than external, but it is there. We feel an expectation to fit in, behave the same, whether we want to or not. Think about it – Almost half the country supported Trump in the last election and most swing states went to him. You know more Trump supporters than you think. They were pretty quiet weren’t they?

Now, I am not bringing this up to talk about the pros and cons of either party, I only bring this up to demonstrate how people will betray their beliefs to fit in. But why would someone abandon their principles, the beliefs they have held on to, just because their friends have? Why would they lower their standards or abandon their beliefs, knowing they will be disappointed later, just to fit in? Worse still, it isn’t as if the person changes their mind based on improve education, they still have the same standards and beliefs, they are just giving up. Why does it become so tempting to lower your personal standards to fit in?

One reason, especially in our age of social media is comparison to others. We don’t want to be different, and all of our friends seem to have their lives together, we don’t want to be the lame one, so we’ll sacrifice a little of our principles because, well, everyone else is doing OK with lower standards. Except they’re not. They are simply showing you and the world what they want to portray. Social media is a lie. It’s an act. It’s nothing more than a presentation of what we want people to believe about us.

Here are the three take aways for today:

1 – Most people really don’t care. If they are your friends, they likely already know your stance and thoughts, and accept you anyway. The only person who thinks this is a big deal is you, because you’re the one living with it.

2 – Fitting in is overrated. You don’t have to be a clone to fit in. You can still have the areas in common you share with your friends while holding on to your values.

3 – The moment you lower your standards and integrity is the moment you begin to disappoint yourself and lose self-esteem. Better to be outside of the crowd with a healthy view of yourself than to join the crowd and feel shame.

So how does making a risky decision impact you? Think of your favourite chocolate bar. Now imagine 1000 of them sitting on a shelf. Now imagine you and your friends get to pick as many as you want for free and eat them. Here’s the kicker – One of the bars is 1% dog poop. So the question is, which ones do you eat? Whenever you make a choice just to fit in with your friends you are taking a risk with the poop infused chocolate bar. The more you fit in, the more likely you will be eating poop. But hey, it’s only 1%, you probably won’t even taste it…

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Picture credit: https://pixabay.com/en/desperate-sad-depressed-cry-2100307/

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Categories: Development, Mental Health, Social Identity

6 replies

  1. Great analogy, and thoughts on social media. Just finished reading some flame wars on FB and shaking my head.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lee. The social media thing is called rumination, there’s studies done on it, and the effect on depression etc. The more people reflect on the life of their friends, the greater the chance of depression. Most people share the good side of life, vacations, kids growing up, parties, etc. Not many people openly talk about their insecurities and struggles, leading others to believe their lives are all in a good place. People then have self-doubt and it goes wrong. Maybe that will be the next post. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have made the mistake of posting unpleasant personal things, and the silence is deafening.

    Like

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