Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Conformity and Groupthink: Don't Be Afraid To Stand Up and Speak Out

I love quotes like these because they get us thinking critically and help us to strengthen our mental health.  This quote brings two psychological terms to mind, conformity and groupthink.  It is natural and easy for a person to follow the crowd in the search for social acceptance.   Nobody enjoys being an outcast or the person who goes against the grain of the group.  It may be easier to follow the crowd, but what does that say of us if we do so?

There is an old saying, "If everyone was jumping of a cliff, would you do the same?", and this refers to conformity.  Humans are stronger in groups and naturally feel less discomfort and fear when surrounded by others, especially if they are all of one mind.  If everybody else is doing it, it must be right; Right?  So if everyone is judging and poking fun at someone in a crowd because their behaviour is outside the norm, should we just go along with it?  Most people will say no, but studies and research show that is exactly what the majority will do!

This way of thinking can only be changed when we step out of the group and do what is right, not just what is popular.  Yes, it is an uncomfortable place to be in, but your inner self will benefit most from doing what is right.  Be an advocate and not just a bystander.  Doing nothing at all makes us part of the problem.  If you are already mentally strong then I ask you to stand up for those who are not.

If you are suffering with your own mental health issues, then build on your empathy and compassion simply because you understand how the person in the middle of the scrutiny feels.  Be an advocate for your fellow human beings.  Don't be afraid to help someone  else who is suffering through a tough situation, especially if they are being bullied or persecuted by others in a group.  If we do nothing, this adds to our inner conflicts and saying nothing will bring shame and guilt later.

It is hard to stand up against a group, but if it is right and you know that it is, then give it shot.  It may be a tough bridge to cross at first, but I think you will be surprised how many others are waiting for some else to take that first step.  Be that person who takes that first step.  It will feed your inner strength and you will walk away without guilt or shame.  If you feel you are too mentally weak at the moment, take a chance and show your compassion.  It will build on your strength and fill you with pride.

You can continue to follow the group and find that you will cause much inner conflict, especially when what the group is doing, is something you know goes against your own ethics and values.  Don't do what is easy, do what is right!  If you feel that the group is going in the right direction, join that group and do right as a team.  Don't just follow the group because it is the simple thing to do.

We all need to be more empathetic and understanding of each other if we truly want the best for humanity.  Build on these positive attributes and strengthen your inner self!

Be Well and have a great day!

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