Are you fitting in nicely?

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Innocence of the law is no excuse, according to a well used saying, but what about innocence of social mores? From my childhood days, I remember situations where my parents were judged for not “doing the right thing”, when we first arrived in Lagos, from London. They were both mortified to discover that they were not fitting in quickly enough, since they had probably dreamt of returning to the land of our forbears, to be received with welcoming and open arms.

It takes a lot of guts and fibre of character to stand outside of such circumstances, to maintain one’s integrity and focus on moving forward without succumbing to pressure from peers to conform. In some cases, people don’t want to expend energy on battles that they didn’t sign up for, so they look for ways to make amends for their apparent social gaucheness.

When a person doesn’t appear to have the required attributes for membership of a group, he or she can always choose to enjoy his or her own company. It is possible that there are new insights to be learnt from daring to remain different to the norm. This doesn’t mean the person should be socially unavailable to others, but simply secure enough to hold his or her own unique space, regardless of what others might think or feel.

The word out in cyberspace suggests that being unique and personal could be the most useful life skill in current times. There again, this approach could soon become the new orthodoxy, so where does one draw the line?

Avoiding the slippery slope of seeking validation from one’s peers is probably a wise way to live a life.

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