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Breaking Social Norms: 4 Ways To Free Yourself From The Crowd

There are many instances in life when we hold ourselves back from doing things we want to do just because it doesn’t fit the social norm. We limit our freedom just because we fear that our actions would result in us getting labeled a douchebag by the majority of people around us.

Social norms are the set of rules that dictate how one should behave in order to be considered a socially normal person.  But just because a majority agrees to particular way of behaving or doing things doesn't imply that it is socially normal.

Nobody has the absolute authority to dictate what’s socially normal or not; it depends upon everybody’s own perception.

So why become a victim of the status quo?

Why limit ourselves from doing things our way just because a majority doesn’t approve of it.

Here is how to break free from social norms and get away with doing your own thing.

1. Accept yourself for what you are and know your values.

First and foremost, you need to accept yourself for who you are, stop thinking that there's something wrong with you for being different, for thinking differently from the majority and for doing things that deviates from norm. Realize what’s important to you in life, what you truly value.

Once you know your values and realize who you really are, don't worry what other people think of you. When you know your values and what matters to you in life, you'll have something to stand up for —something you believe in.

You will stop becoming a yes man and a people pleaser. You will learn how to say no and stand your ground.

2. Stop caring about what other people might think.

We are all sensitive to other people's negative judgments, so not really caring what other people think of us can be easier said than done. The other problem is, even if we don’t care about other people’s reactions, it doesn't mean those reactions or responses can't affect us negatively.

If I wear my pants inside out to work for a month straight without a care for what my co-workers think, it's still going to affect my career. Still, unless you actions or behavior is hurting you or others, you genuinely need not care what other people think.

3. Be prepared to ruffle some feathers.

Always remember that in your quest to break free of social norms you will ruffle some feathers, you will occasionally upset some people with no real fault of yours. You will face opposition from the "Status Quo-ists"...people who are resistant to change and in the habit of doing this a particular way.  

But don’t pay attention to them; some people are just natural douchebags, they will have something to say even about the way you take a dump. You don’t have to be an asshole, but the world does not need a spineless conflict-avoiding people either.

Being a people pleaser only makes you an ultimate loser.

The "Status Quo-ists" will always like to see you follow the norm, but don’t be afraid to call bullshit when you see it, or ignore them completely.

4. Don't lose your cool.

It is important that you maintain your cool if you want to get your message out. Don’t be bitter at people for not understanding you. Raise firm objections when required, but don’t whine, complain or get into arguments and fights because people don’t understand you; it would only make you seem insecure.

Be cheerful and confident in being who you are and in doing things the way you want. Maintaining your cool may actually make people more understanding of you, because if they see you have no problem with how you're acting, then there's a good chance they'll follow your lead.

About the author

John Camdir

John is a freelance writer and armchair philosopher with an attitude. He enjoys waxing philosophical about men's issues, as well as reading.

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