Imagine a long, long sofa. Along this sofa sit an arrangement of people from every walk of life, variously taking up more or less space. Arms folded, legs crossed, louche, sprawling, feet up, upside down, naked, tattooed, pierced, prim, corpulent, pious.
Everyone is there, including you.
You start chatting to the person sitting next to you, but it isn’t long before awkwardness sets in. Their eyes glaze over. You feel uncomfortable and fold your arms across your chest.
Because instinctively your body is crying out “This person is not like me.”
Nothing like contrast to get you to define who you believe yourself to be.
When you come up against a non-like mind, it can force a powerful urge to express yourself as a way of declaring the difference out loud. This is who I am not!
You silently cringe and wish you were somewhere else.
But over there I see people who are more like me! I shall shimmy myself over where I won’t feel so strange and out of place. Where people understand me. Where I can feel appreciated. Where I can get away from those who make me feel uncomfortable and weird and rebellious.
So you edge yourself down the line, and sit among those who make you feel more aligned with who you feel you are. And you watch them, how they move, how they relax into themselves.
You mirror their body language. The rapport is palpable and you are no longer out of place.
So where does conformity fit in to all of this?
Well, lounging on the sofa of the universe with people who make you feel like you belong is not really conforming. BUT feeling icky on the ottoman of life because you are out of place, well… that’s not the life of a non-conformist, either.
Because really, what is a non-conformist but someone who has claimed the power of independent choice?
And isn’t conforming really a way of unburdening oneself from the pressure of choice?
The conformist moves in the direction of the herd and abdicates the ownership of their decisions to another person, or a tribe, a culture or a philosophy.
Whereas a true non-conformist embraces the ownership of their choices.
Choice is an asset that you can sell off to others…or it can be your greatest weapon.
Choices define who you are. You show your colours when you are asked to speak up, to actively show the world what you choose, think, feel and stand up for. You plant the flag of what you value and say “Here! What say you, now?”
When you hand over the choices you make as currency for the softest, most comfy spot on the sofa, it feels like acceptance. It feels like endorsement. It feels like approval.
But taking this weapon of choice and actually giving it a shot! Taking aim and firing wherever your heart desires! Weeping when you misfire yet being accountable. Feeling fear suck at your insides until they ache and your choices tremble in your fingers…this is the rub.
Claim the power of making your own choices and you own everything – your successes, your failures, your mistakes and your lessons learned. You own your life and most of all, you own it with integrity.