When you are a kid you learn to get along. You learn to become one of the pack, the norm, the standard. If you deviate too far you become an outcast incessantly mocked by your peers. So if you can, if you are capable of suppressing part of yourself to become accepted, you do. It is a survival mechanism. As you work your way through life, hopefully you let go of this need to conform and find your own voice. Hopefully you believe enough in yourself to let this voice be heard. However, all too often this does not happen. Instead we live our entire lives emulating the crowd, the masses, the majority who is only the majority because there are more people who find that safety in numbers is easier than personal expression. Even those who seem to be rejecting the masses have become the masses. Those sporting tattoos covering the majority of their bodies, with ear plugs that stretch their ear lobes beyond repair, those who were once the minority, the rebels, the free spirits, are too plentiful to be unique. People spend enormous amount of energy and time trying to blend into the masses, repressing their own thoughts and ideas. We watch reality shows so we can talk about other people’s lives around the water cooler at work rather than our own. We wear the recognized brands so people know when we stand in the pecking order. How many things do we do every day not because we actually like those things but because this is how was are supposed to live our lives according to TV, magazines and the other people in our neighborhoods and work places that tell us this is how we are supposed to live our lives?
So how does one get released from the pack? How do you express your identity and claim the unique sense of self that only we can call our own?
Just be true to yourself. Be genuine in your actions and your words. I go to Starbuck because the service and coffee is better than Dunkin’ Donuts not for the pretense. I wear colorful socks hidden under my pants because it makes me feel pretty. I use a Mac over a PC because it is easier to maintain. Ironically enough, I think the motto of the popular Life is Good company has it right, if you “Do what you like and like what you do” and your genuine self will shine through.