noun con·for·mi·ty \kən-ˈfr-mə-tē\

: behavior that is the same as the behavior of most other people in a society, group, etc.

: the fact or state of agreeing with or obeying something

I am having some difficulty with the way our world is today. We live in a society where everyone just conforms to the majority. Everyone else is doing it so why not fall in line and follow the crowd? Why would you consider speaking up for what you truly believe in or have feelings about because that might put you….on the outskirts? Cause ridicule? Expose your true feelings? or Eek! Make you an individual?!

As American sociobiologist Rebecca Costa states in her book, The Watchman’s Rattle:

“Conforming to society and its pressures is much easier than making conscious decisions about every issue. The more complex life becomes, the more difficult it is to acquire the knowledge we need to make a correct decision. Not only are the decisions we face more complex, we also have to make many more of them and make them faster. From this standpoint, it’s no wonder that group behavior and groupthink are so seductive. The alternative is to become paralyzed by too much information, too many choices, and too much difficulty.

When conditions become chaotic and incomprehensible, we naturally align with the majority. We let the group decide because we believe there is special wisdom in the group’s decision. The results of “groupthink” can be hisoric and disturbing, as in the cases of Nazi Germany, Mi Lai, and the Abu Ghraib prison. But groupthink is by no means limited to human atrocities; it also explains the lines around the block on Black Friday, the spread of Disco in the seventies, and the 2008 stampede to buy rice when news of a possible shortage leaked out.

Experts who study human behavior speculate the drive towards uniform behavior may be a natural instinct inherited from our ancient ancestors. They suggest that survival opportunities increased when we acted as a unified group rather than as individuals. Working together enabled us to capture larger prey and to efficiently defend against more powerful predators. So, similar to the jackals and wolves, our ancestors relied on the strength of the pack for their well being. If this is true, it implies that we may be biologically predisposed to conform to the wishes and behavior of the group.

Regardless of whether our desire to conform to society is motivated by comfort, is biologically inherited, or is simply a natural inclination to take the path of least resistance, one this is certain: When it comes to survival, groupthink may be less complex than diversity, but it is also dangerous.” -The Watchman’s Rattle, Rebecca Costa

Why do we do this? Why? We live in America, the land of the free. If you don’t agree with something you don’t have to! That’s your RIGHT! And you know what else is your right? Speaking up about it! So what if others don’t agree with you, at least you’re staying true to what you believe in.

I’m sorry, but on certain topics, I will not fall in line with the majority. I will stay true to my feelings and beliefs. And I’m not hear to say I’m better than anyone, I’m saying I’m different. I am unique. We are all different and unique. We have been given the freedoms we have to make choices and decisions we feel are best.

When we stop thinking for ourselves and let society deem what is right and wrong we are doing two fundamentally things wrong. First, we are saying that society knows best. If everyone else is doing it then it must be right. Second, we are giving up our individual freedoms. We are letting others decide for us. We are conforming to the ideals of the majority because we are too scared/lazy/undecided/fickle/confused/overwhelmed or whatever other excuse we use to prevent us from going against the grain.

I am Catholic. I understand that not everyone is. However, my decisions/choices/actions and beliefs follow the catechism teachings of the Catholic church. People do and can criticize some or even all of these beliefs.They have the freedom to do that. But it isn’t going to chance the way I feel. Even if I don’t support something that everyone else does, I won’t conform. This doesn’t make me stubborn or ignorant. This makes me, ME.

There is a different between conformity and evolution. The world and people have evolved and continue to, but that doesn’t mean society’s way of evolving should equate to the conformity of everyone else. I don’t believe in casual sex. I don’t like how it’s displayed on TV shows (really ABC family? You seriously disappoint me), talked about on the radio (yeah, I’m talking to you Channel 95.5) and basically splashed everywhere as ‘a part of life’. Why isn’t anything left to be sacred anymore? Sex was meant to be between a husband and wife to procreate. It wasn’t meant for high schoolers who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground (PARDON MY FRENCH)! But again, this me and this is how I feel. It’s evident that casual sex is considered fine in our society. Well, it’s not fine for me and I will gladly stay in the minority on this one.

I believe that everyone has the right to feel the way that they do. I will not invalidate your personal feelings…but I also ask that you not invalidate mine. If I don’t believe in something you do the way that you don’t believe is something that I do that’s okay! It makes us co-existing human beings with separate ideals. And we can each stand up for what we believe in. We have that right. But it’s how we do it. It’s how we differentiate ourselves. Our world is too entitled. We believe we deserve to ‘have it all’. We are sadly mistaken. Life is a GIFT. And whether or not you agree with me, it’s a gift from God. At any instance, your life can be taken from you. And that, you have NO control over. So when people act and live their lives as if the world owes them something, it makes me sad…very, very sad. Because I wake up each day thanking God for my life and my blessings. Maybe I don’t always act that way and that’s something I’m working on internally, but it’s my goal.

I hope more people stand up for what they believe in. I hope they don’t just conform because the rest of the world is. BE YOURSELF…everyone else is already taken.

I Value My Freedom…Do You?

I value my freedom. I value that I get to live each day in peace, not in fear. I am not worried about someone coming to my house to kill me, or my husband or my child. I value that I don’t have to live in a world where my life could be at jeopardy on a daily basis. I value that I can write this blog and share my thoughts and I won’t be persecuted for them. I won’t be killed for my thoughts or my beliefs…at least, not yet.

We are Americans and we live in a world where our freedom is taken for granted on a daily basis. Our freedom to criticize the government, our leaders, our teachers, our co-workers and anyone else that we want to for that matter. Our freedom to live the life we choose. Our freedom from fear. Our freedom from being forced to fight for our freedom.

Right now, ISIS is attacking…and they are relentless. They are relentlessly killing innocent people, innocent Christians to be exact. They are killing them for their faith. If they do not renounce their beliefs, they will die. They will not renounce so they are killed. They are beheaded. They are viciously murdered. They are barbarically attacked.

We may watch the news or read online about what is happening and we feel bad. We are sickened by what is going on. But then we go about our days. We live our lives because these situations aren’t inherently affecting us. So we carry on with our families and our friends and our freedoms. And there is no shame or guilt in doing so, but can we do nothing but feel piety for these individuals? Can we do nothing but read and discuss and read some more? I do not know, but I do know that I don’t feel like I’m doing enough so this is my part. This is me speaking up. And maybe it will fall on deaf ears and maybe no one will care, but I had to say it.

Freedom is priceless but everything comes at a cost. These people are dying because they are standing up for their religious freedoms. They are standing strong and firmly planted in their roots and their beliefs. How many of you can the same? How many of you can truly say if ISIS stood next to you holding your child and threatening to kill them that you wouldn’t do whatever it took? You wouldn’t say whatever they wanted? How many of you can say that you believe in something so strongly?

And this isn’t about religion or politics, it’s about the sanctity of life. It’s about valuing our freedoms and those freedoms include the right to choose. We have the right to choose what we believe in and we should not be killed for those choices. So no matter what your religious or political beliefs are, put them aside. Stop and ask yourself this question…how much do you value your freedom? Enough to die for it? Or would you lie for it?

God bless all those who continue to die each day because they refuse to be anything than who they are…followers of Christ. And God bless all of those individuals who fight for us each and every day so that we may live in the land of the free.