Toni Dupree

Toni Dupree

I was reading something a bit ago that stated, “In Japan, going along with others is a sign not of weakness but of tolerance, self-control, and maturity in Japan.”

Let me start by admitting first, that I’m an individualist, I’m not a fan of conforming to what other people do, think or believe—unless I believe on my own. I’m more free thinking, self-motivated and self-reliant than that. The word “Conformity” automatically makes me feel like I going to be put in a box without my voice. Although, I understand that conforming isn’t either good or bad, I believe we have to be mindful not to lose ourselves when faced with those circumstances that may require us to conform. It’s very important to understand what we’re conforming to, why we are choosing to conform and what will be the result of this conformity. Ask yourself if conformity is seen as a subtle more social form of bullying in some circles?

This question can be answered by simply understanding the rules of engagement in my opinion. For example, if it involves putting a stop to negative chronic behaviors like gossiping then, no, it’s not bullying and the result is a positive one because there will be less salt poured on people’s reputations. On the other hand, if it involves peer pressure to go against one’s better judgment then it’ definitely can be seen as bullying which can cause bad outcome. When talking to children about either of these scenarios, it’s important to give clear relatable examples in an effort to paint a vivid picture of real situations and how they can play out. This will help navigate them to a positive outcome.  These examples are pretty easy to understand, but there are times when being faced with conformity can get a little difficult to say the least, especially when it involves family or loved ones.

When we accept and comply with the conformity we sincerely believe that a person or group’s actions are right and conforming to the expectation or request without actually believing in it, is what we are doing when we so blindly go with other like they do in Japan. You wear all red to work because a group of your co-worker’s have decided to dress in the same color red, but you really dislike having to do it. When you give someone a compliment and you don’t mean it or even like the person. In Romans 12 1-2 we are encourages not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Although, I am an individualist, of course I understand there are things that I do conform to such as, laws and certain rules and even some of my loved one’s expectations. This is where being obedient comes in–complying with a direct command is a variation on compliance as well. To reiterate, what the bible says, we must be mindful and discerning in our thoughts and behavior as it relates to conforming as well.