Back in school, I had friends who always had to be in a romantic relationship. Once their lover broke up with them or they had to do the same thing for some reason, they didn’t know what else to do with themselves, so they said “yes” to the next guy who showed interest. Sometimes, it was because they were wary of appearing undesirable to the opposite sex in an environment where it was the fashionable thing to be coupled up. The pressure to be seen as wanted was real and not everyone could withstand it. Most of the time, however, it was the fear of being alone.
In the online sphere, it’s not uncommon to find people keep mute until an influencer or social media celebrity takes a stance on a trending subject. Then the “yasses” and “gbams” are rolled out. In board meetings, everyone is quiet until the brave one vocalises their thoughts. Again, the “I was thinking along those lines too or that was my thinking as well” responses start coming. A behaviour and once again speaks to the absence of independent thought.
In general, people feel the need to belong
The archetypal humans long to be an integral part of something, an association, a group, an institution…anything that suggests to them that they are not alone. There’s a void that association fills.
Nevertheless, it’s worrisome when one finds themselves unable to function alone. If your thoughts and opinions are always coloured by what the next person says, then you must reassess yourself with a view to finding out why you have a penchant for this. If you have to be in a clique to have a voice, then it’s safe to say you do not possess an independent mind.
I have always disapproved of cliques. Many times, they are a group of people who constitute themselves into a social nuisance because of their number. A band of individuals who are bogged down by the need to think alike, hold the same opinions, love the same things, and disapprove of the same people.
Sometimes, these cliques are not defined–just a bunch of familiar strangers occupying the same cyberspace–insecure persons who call themselves friends but are actually an alliance for self-preservation. And so, you’ll find them nodding and frowning to the same issues.
Our society thrives on group-think
Need to get the most absurd ideas accepted by the majority? propagate it through the huge following you have. Your tribe will support no matter how ludicrous your views are.
It’s rare to find individuals who aren’t afraid to stand alone. People hop on the bandwagon of popular opinion because they do not want to be tagged the villain, especially when issues around hot topics like politics, religion or societal beliefs are discussed. They wonder why they should be different when they can stay in the good books of the majority by simply mouthing what everyone else has to say.
Well, for one, the ability to stand alone shows that you are thinking. Ever read through a thread where everybody was saying the same thing except one individual who brought a fresh perspective to the matter? Something different that made you go, “Hmmm, I never thought of it this way. This person actually has a point.” You admired them because they weren’t pressured to toe the line everyone else toed. They analysed the issue objectively and drew their own conclusions.
Your ability to stand alone regardless of what others think earns you respect
Only a few things are as attractive as a person who has a mind of their own– their reasoning unclogged by the judgement of others. They may not admit it, but people respect those who are fearless enough to take an unpopular stance.
Sticking to your personal convictions will help you win in many ways
You get to choose the life you want; you are able to own both your successes and mistakes knowing they were not a result of external influence. You are able to build confidence and strength from the disapproving looks and rude remarks you are likely to receive for daring to be different.
Rather than get lost in a crowd of echoers, stand out with your own voice
The universe has a way of putting us in situations where we are forced to deal with our issues alone. At such times, you’ll need all the strength and grit you can muster.
You do not want to wait until circumstances compel you before you start training yourself to stand alone.