It is human nature to seek out the familiar. People are vastly more comfortable around things they know. Formalities can be shed for easier language and laid-back actions. But when confronted with the unknown, the unfamiliar, we begin to feel lost. A need to be this perfect, well-mannered automaton builds up. Consider for a moment a party where most people don’t know each other. All around, people are small-talking their way through the crowd, asking how they have been, what’s new, and how long have you been going out with her. Answers are given politely and succinctly, because you know, deep down, they don’t really care.
We form a bubble for ourselves in which only a select few can enter, and even then only after trust has been earned. These few are the ones allowed to get close, to know our innermost secrets, things we wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else. And sometimes even these people aren’t allowed to know. Why? Because even they can be put under the heading “Unfamiliar.” They aren’t us. They have different opinions, different outlooks, different takes on life, the universe, and everything. We fear that if they find out we aren’t exactly the same in every way, they will be disappointed and leave.
Now, this forms a small dilemma. As it is human to find the familiar, it is equally human to latch onto it with a vice-like grip and be unwilling to let go. People like company. If we were all left alone to our own devices, we’d go insane. So what happens when we lose these people we call friends? It was just mentioned: we go insane. Thus, images are formed. Everyone’s got to dress the same, act the same, BE the same. What does it all come to? An unfulfilled life. Instead of being who we truly are, we bury our soul deep inside. The shell that the world is allowed to see is what is accepted, and only that. Any different, and the disapproval ratings rise. No one likes what he doesn’t understand. They fear it. Who we truly are is most likely the single-most misunderstood concept in humanity. Connection? I do believe there is.
People don’t like change. It forces us to become different, or to lose. What do I mean by that? Either we change who we are to fit the new parameters, or we must cast off the unwanted weight. He who tried to be real and true to himself ends up losing what he holds dear. But why? All he wants is for his friends to accept him as who he truly is. Instead, they shun him, claiming they “don’t know how he is anymore;” he’s “just not the kid who used to be my best friend.”
This person loses friends, until there are almost none left. He becomes an outcast, laughed at by everyone whose image scorns individuality and mocks self-expression. Why, though? Shouldn’t these be the things we hold most dear in our lives? They’re what our ancestors fought for in the 18th century, the freedom to be able to do just that. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be true to who I am and have a handful of friends than a whole roomful who expect me to be this cookie-cutter entity, just to “fit in.” After all, is popularity worth losing your soul ? It’s up to you to decide. Choose.