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Cities are defined by the diversity of their people, who come together despite having different values, beliefs, and perspective. In this age of technology and globalization, with everyone connected to one another more than ever before, it can be hard to determine the boundaries between one’s individual rights and the need to conform to the expectations of society.
The Need to Believe in Something
In a sense, believing in something is an inevitable part of life, whether it be belief in your own abilities, a higher power, or your social environment. We tend to find comfort in submitting to the beliefs of the majority, as it allows us to feel accepted. But in doing so, we can be quick to forget that true freedom is only achieved when we know our own ideals and beliefs, and don’t restrain our thoughts and voice in order to fit in with the social norm.
In some cases, as much as we may want to express our individuality and go against the grain, practical considerations come into play. For instance, certain religions, occupations, and legal penalties may mean that you have to act or think in a certain way to stay on the ‘right’ side of the law. While we may not agree with them, it’s important to recognize that there are social obligations we must adhere to in order to lead a successful life.
Establishing a Balance
In order to stay true to both our individual rights and the norms of society, it’s important to stay informed on both sides of the equation. Finding a balance between the two is essential for leading a fulfilling life and avoiding the pitfalls of extreme individualism or enthusiastic conformity. Here are a few tips to help find this balance:
- Know your own convictions. Be aware of your own core values, beliefs, and opinions so that you know what is most important to you in life.
- Understand your surroundings. Keep an open mind and learn about the social environment around you so that you can better understand the demands of the prevailing culture.
- Express yourself respectfully. There’s a difference between standing up for your principles and rejecting the norms of society in an antagonistic manner.
- Act with purpose. Know when to apply practical considerations to your actions in order to produce the desired outcome.
- Stay informed. Don’t succomb to stereotypes but make sure you have a prima facie understanding of the issues that matter to society.
In the end, it’s all about maintaining a healthy balance of individual rights and social conformity, allowing us to live a fulfilling life that takes into account the needs of both ourselves and those around us.
The Struggle Between Individual Rights and Social Conformity