There's a lot to be said for originality. Being unique can be both a blessing and a curse. Those who go against the grain are the pioneers. They set the tone for the next wave, whether it's a new fashion trend or a way of thinking that revolutionizes our society - there is nothing like truly thinking for oneself.
I wonder then, why, our generation is adamantly intent on being the same? Of course there are exceptions to this rule - but if you look generally at millennials, you'll see there's a tendency to follow, and not just on social media.
If I've preached anything here on ABD it's been to be yourself. Not because I'm so immune to the pressure to fit in, but because I've done it, and it sucks feeling like you're wearing a mask 24/7/365 in order to please some powers that be that don't even really give a crap what happens to you in the end, if we're honest.
Hand in hand with this, I notice that whenever something is "hot," we all have a need to get other people to believe as we do. On issues regarding race, religion, same sex marriage, feminism, child rearing - there are commonly accepted viewpoints at this day and age which we are expected to prescribe to. And on some of them, I just don't agree. And you know what? That's OKAY. I'm old school wrapped in a little new. Trendy shoes and a 1965 type of attitude about certain things - that's just me.
I'll give you an example:
I'm a deeply spiritual person, so are my children. When Mino had a sleepover recently and he and Nelly were blessing their food, they looked up to see this other child had not prayed and asked him accusingly, "Aren't you going to bless your food?"
I took that teaching moment to let my sons know not everyone believes as we do, and told them to respect his family's choice. I want my children to understand how to respect life in all of its forms. Take nothing away from someone else's style of living, as long as it doesn't impede on your own. Disagree, respectfully, if you must.
No matter how vehemently I may not agree with someone's point of view, I see the necessity of their opinion. We all make the world go 'round. Good, bad or indifferent. Every person has the right to have their feelings on any matter, even if I feel as though it's wrong.
Some of my closest friends, even my own family, do not believe the same things as me, don't lead the same lifestyle as me, or just plain don't get it. Vice versa. But, I always make note of the fact their difference in opinion is helpful to me, even if it just sharpens my awareness of self enough to say "that isn't for me."
This cuts both ways. Just because it isn't your way, doesn't mean you have the authority to disrespect or disregard their opinions or beliefs, just as it doesn't negate your own. You should never feel pressured to believe other than your experiences dictate just because someone else says so. Have enough guts to be yourself and choose your choices, even when it doesn't seem right to someone else.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about marriage, and she started off a sentence by saying "from everything I know about it..." and those six words stuck like glue. From what SHE knows about it, meaning everything that followed would be based on her limited knowledge of the facts and colored by her truth and understanding of my situation. None of the advice that she gave me was wrong necessarily, but it wasn't for me, and I knew it in my bones as she was talking. And I had to just gather, that our experiences are different.
What you cannot do, however, is be foolish enough to make decisions based on the opinion of people who will not live with the consequences. Learn to think for you. Learn to live for you. Not for popular opinion. It'd be a shame to waste the gift of life on anything less than an authentic journey, so as the Beatles put it, let it be. Be you, and let others do the same. What's for you is for you.