Wrote this one last year and found it in drafts this week! You never know!
To any extreme, nothing is healthy, it’s a fact. Whether you’re dieting, have found a hobby, or enjoy a good nap. When you go to extremes, you develop unhealthy addictions and obsessions. These obsessions will distract you from your life’s purpose and will inevitably zap away your happiness. This is because humans require balance in every way.
Even an overabundance of something seemingly good can have ill effects. Become too generous with others? You may find your own family going without. Give your kids everything they could ever ask for and you may find they become unappreciative. But, the starting point of this post is to stop labeling rebellion and conformity. This includes those self-labels too. Need a breakdown? Well, then let’s talk about it.
When you picture your average conformist, you may get an image of one of two people. The basic law-living conservationist or the overly fake younger woman who wears too much make-up. (We’ll talk about why you’ll never succeed being a conformist later.)
The reason we picture these two people is because these are seen as golden standards. To conform is to comply with the laws, rules, and standards or to become the socially acceptable image many of us strive to be. Fairly self-explanatory.
When you picture your average rebel, you most likely picture a skate punk with greasy hair or a teen dressed in black with green hair. Easy enough, even if you Google “rebel” you’ll get similar pictures. (We’ll talk about why this image is wrong both ways later on.)
The reason we picture that “punk” is because the origins of this stereotype were formed by those who were different. The colored hair and black clothing is seen as a way to stand out. Many believed it was a way to show an allegiance to darkness. But the truth is, its becoming harder and harder to be different. This is why you’ll see the stereotype of the rebel change throughout the years.
Now, here we talk about the truth: how neither side is wrong nor right. But more importantly, how they aren’t exactly opposites at all. The problem with conformity is commonly stated by rebels and vice versa. But has either of them ever looked at why, or as to why their extreme is so…extreme?
The word conformist isn’t often claimed, which is ironic as the word rebel is very readily claimed. Does that mean rebels own up or conformists are in denial? Interesting, but that’s not it. Those who are conforming to social standards are actually rebellious to the world, whereas those who lay claim to the word rebel are conforming to the word. Ironic, yes.
In my opinion, rebellion is overrated. Not conforming is great, but in general those who claim the word rebel as a whole (and not over a given standard) are simply trying their best to be different. To be fair, it usually starts with injustice. They see something in their childhood, at school, home, or growing up that they deem unfair. They become angry and need a way out. So they try to get as far away from that unjust conformity that they can. It really does make sense.
On the other hand, your average conformist may just be doing his best to uphold the law (of social standards or the government). But somewhere along the way, it’s likely that he saw injustice too. He saw that people who were different were often treated badly. Swearing to never have to face that, he conformed, wanting to be heard and accepted.
So, in reality, both want attention in some way. Whether to be loved or to stand out, it is unknown as it varies. But don’t we all just want to be loved? It’s just that so many of us are too afraid to be vulnerable and chance showing their real selves.
Yes, there is a balance and its completely natural. There is good and bad in both sides of these stereotypes, it’s simply up to us to learn from each of them. Think, why are you doing what you’re doing? Would it be different if you had different friends or a different family? Would it be different if you didn’t care what people thought? And yes, “rebels” care more than anyone.
First off, remember not to group your entire being with one side. Just because you are rebelling against eating meat doesn’t mean you have rebellion against meat-eaters. In truth, no one is a real rebel or a real conformist. That’s because we’re all individuals with our own minds.
But honestly, there is something good to learn from these so-called extremists, rebels and conformists both push themselves to change. Now that’s a good thing! Do you find yourself stereotyping either of these or leaning toward one side? Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to add. You might help someone!