The Herd mentality:
The biggest cause for stress today is a latent dissatisfaction with oneself. We all talk about individualism but constantly want to confirm with a larger group. There is an increasing need for a sense of belonging with some group, system or society at large. Unlike popular belief a constant striving to belong and peer pressure are not restricted to teenagers alone. It is as prevalent and deep-rooted among all humans. In fact it is more deep rooted in adults especially in the 20 to 50 age group.
Depending on the type of segment or society one is part of, the mode of such peer pressure may vary, but the driving force is the same. In the very rich it may be about what kind of and how many businesses one has; in the economically advancing groups, it is about acquiring goodies and ‘the best of everything’ for the children; in the younger working adults it may be about the latest gadgets and fashions and for the economically challenged classes or religiously inclined, it may be about language, community or cults.
As a result we see everyone trying to do the same thing in the same way. We also try to think and act in a certain way. Our children have to go to a type of school which everyone sends their children to. We have to wear the same kind of clothes, follow fashion and have the same gadgets.
Where is the individuality?
The only individuals who are truly individual are children below the age of five or six. They do exactly what they want and very happy doing it. However, we cannot accept that and condition and train them to lose their individuality at an early age. The funniest part is that we do not even know why we are doing this.
No one has asked us to confirm nor does anyone ignore or ostracize. In fact, people are so busy with their lives that they do not have time to interfere with others. Of course, all societies are different but very broadly, societies which are progressing economically are becoming quite homogeneous.
All of this creates so much of internal pressure that it starts taking a toll at an early age. We see so may more balding and graying individuals in their 20s than ever before. Lifestyle diseases, which was the prerogative of someone in the 60s has now come down to the 30s and even lower. We keep blaming everyone and everything for this state of affairs. Deteriorating environment, pollution and a fast paced life. However, the main reason for all of us is ourselves.
The one main principle that can take care of this is ‘acceptance’. We are all completely unique individuals. Not only that, the situations we are placed in are also completely unique. What this means is that we have to flow, behave and act as per our true nature. Some persons may like simple clothes, some may like flashy clothes and some find it a chore to dress well. Imagine trying to fit in when it does not suit us. Stress builds up in your system.
Accept and Love yourself completely:
The trick is to accept yourself gracefully. Appreciate and love yourself the way you are. It is fine if you function differently from the expected norms. The next thing is to gratefully accept your current situation – be it physical attributes, thought process, financial status, perceived lack of facilities or luxuries or any other factor. That does not mean one has be isolated from society or not carry out any goal oriented activity.
What it means is that one should not agonize over what they do not have and carry on any activity with sincerity and patience. Any activity done with a view of ‘must have’ or with a view to ‘not being left out’, is always going to cause a lot of problems. This leads to a lot of stress and actually causes illnesses and diseases.
We are amazingly unique and special. So just learn to be yourself, learn to enjoy work, relax when you have the time and accept all that comes your way.