The Terrible Consequences of Conformity

All kinds of people push conformity. But why? Fitting in may sound harmless, but it leads to all kinds of misery. We need to talk about this.

Teachers extol fitting in as a form of crowd control, pointing to the most passive kid in the room as the standard of model behavior. Warping the hearts of children is just so much collateral damage and not important.

Other kids join in because it’s what kids do as they try to figure out what they have going for them and if they’re going to be able to make something good of life. Coercing other kids to see them as the norm makes them feel less weird.

Parents, unfortunately, join the game. Passive kids seem to take less time and a whole lot less effort. Well, I hate to be the one to break the news, but parenting is all about effort and inconvenience Teaching our kids passive conformity turns out badly.

The Bible, to drop the big-bomb name, says we’re not supposed to fit in. God custom-designed each of us to be originals. Our uniqueness is the square peg that doesn’t fit conformity’s round hole. It’s not supposed to.

We have physical clues of God’s plan. First, everybody who is, was and ever will be has different fingerprints. That’s not news. But now there’s something called quantum biofeedback that can restore the body’s natural balance only because every living thing has a unique energy frequency.

And our matchless selves aren’t just about the physical. Our minds and personalities are also one-of-a-kind, giving us fabulous potential to achieve success. Conformity–that is, fitting in–puts a lid on our possibilities, crimps our self-esteem and charges a fearsome price in health and happiness.

When we accept the fact we’re meant to be originals, not copies, we can start to uncover the gifts and talents planted in us. We can move toward our purpose, the reason we’re alive.

Otherwise, we deny what could be and settle. We go along with the crowd, even when we shouldn’t.

Perhaps your teenager is out with friends who decide to break the law. The only way to fit in is to join them–and fitting in is the thing to do, right?

Same with the dare to chug a bottle of liquor. Hey! What’s the point of worrying about alcohol poisoning when you can look cool?

Or your daughter consents to sex to be part of the crowd. No matter that she’s totally unprepared for the emotional consequences that will stay with her forever. And it’s not all about hormones. Schools teach kids to engage in sex. How? By the way they teach sex education. The agenda crowd behind sex education doesn’t care a whit about kids. The so-called entertainment industry doesn’t either. Again, our children are just collateral damage on the way to their goal.

And if your little girl gets pregnant, she can just kill the baby. Slick and quick. Not a problem. Just a huge load of lifelong emotional consequences. She won’t be able to talk about it, of course, because abortion’s not supposed to be a bad thing. She wants to fit in after all.

Life never gets good for conformists. They stifle their dreams and stuff their hurts. They worry more about the opinions of others than about living a life that nourishes them.

You’ll recognize them, of course. They’re the frustrated people who constantly criticize and never praise. Who always keep score to make sure nobody else, no matter how deserving, gets something they don’t. Who spend their time backstabbing anybody they can’t control. Who spread their lostness, their unacknowledged anger, into every life they touch.

That’s where conformity ends up. It’s a lousy place.

Instead of going there, vote for freedom. Be who you were always meant to be: Uniquely you.

© 2008 by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved.

About the author: Bette Dowdell is a former IBM Systems Engineer, small business consultant and software company owner. She also taught the Bible to just about anybody who would listen–from children to senior citizens. She wrote the book How to be a Christian Without Being Annoying, which describes the Bible’s idea of Christianity, and The Christmas Invitation, which tells the Christmas story as you’ve never heard it before. Read about the books, enjoy some other articles, get a no-cost e-mail subscription to Bette’s original quotes, and contact her at


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