Growing up, we are often taught about self worth and individuality. But somewhere along the journey, you realise that it all boils down to fitting in. So you abandon your beliefs to adhere to the ideals of another person, because it seems like the best way to maintain a healthy relationship — be it with a family member, a partner, a friend, or a colleague.
Of course, there are advantages to fitting in: people accept you more easily, you avoid conflict, and you’re in a place of social safety. But is it sustainable?
All things considered, it is, in fact, counterproductive. Because by doing so you could lose the very identity that separates you from the rest of the world, and worse, it could cause you to resent yourself!
So stay true to who you are. No matter the situation, don’t change these things for anyone:
1. Your Religious Beliefs
In a quest to avoid hurting their elders, a lot of youngsters are secretive about their religious beliefs. They attend prayers and carry out rituals that they have no faith in.
Rashi Sharma* says, “Even though I don’t believe in certain religious rituals or traditions, I’m okay to do them anyway if it makes my grandparents happy”.
A spiritual stance is not one to be deceptive about, whether you follow Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamism, Atheism, or any other belief system. It’s 2018, people! It is okay to live in a Hindu home and still observe Buddhism, or not follow anything at all, if that’s what you wish for.
2. Your Political & Social Stance
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a political discussion, but you avoid voicing your opinion because it’ll ignite an argument with a loved one or a collegue?
Political and social viewpoints are so deeply ingrained in a person because of their own life experiences, that it is difficult to change a stance so strong. So don’t be afraid to speak up — for how long can you keep up a facade anyway?
3. Your Body or Dressing Style
This is ever so crucial in a day and age where the internet is brimming with thigh gaps and skinny challenges. But don’t let internet trolls tell you what you can or cannot wear.
You need to remember that it’s your body, and you can choose to look the way you want and wear what you want. Never let a person tell you how to dress.
4. Your Food Preferences
If you wake up one day and decide that you want to go vegan, then so be it. Why let anybody else dictate what goes inside your body, right?
Ramita Pandit* has been a vegetarian all her life, and that didn’t change even though she married into a non-vegetarian household. She says that she’s now “very comfortable cooking meat for the family”, but she never intends to eat it.
Her family is considerate in ensuring that certain pots and pans are used only for vegetarian food. So there you go: a person who truly cares for you will also respect your choices in life.
5. Your Friends or Social Activities
Has your parent or partner ever tried telling you whom you should and shouldn’t hang out with, because “it’s for your own good”? Considering you’re a smart adult, you should be able to make this choice for yourself.
As long as a social interest or hobby gives you happiness, you shouldn’t have to give it up for the sake of another person. More importantly, never flake on friendships for the sake of a loved one.
*Names changed upon request
Image Credit: Imagesbazaar