The status quo is highly overrated.
But damn it, it sure is attractive at times because fitting in feels better than standing out in the cold alone.
To fit in or not to fit in is an age-old question of the creative human spirit and one I frequently ponder.
It’s easy to champion someone else stepping into their individuality and sharing their perspectives because the risk of rejection isn’t ours at that point.
But when it comes to honoring our own creative impulses the need for individuality and belonging sit like two enemies on our shoulders.
To be seen and heard are basic human desires.
Yet, modern school systems dispel individuality in favor of conformity, obedience, and standardized testing of topics that don’t end up mattering later on.
We prime children to become robots at the ripe age of 6, planting them in rows of desks instead of pollinating their creativity.
And so, from a young age, we learn that honoring individuality comes with significant risk–the risk of being an outsider.
We desire to explore our uniqueness, but when our desire leads us down a path of ostracization, we’re faced with determining if our conformity is worth the risk of feeling like we don’t belong.
It’s at this point where so many lose their voice.
We develop a part of ourselves that believes it’s safer and, therefore, better to suppress our critical questions, thoughts, and perspectives instead of sharing them.
This part’s worst fear is honoring self-expression at the risk of isolation.
When you do self-express and face even the slightest bit of rejection, that part of you says something like this…
The fear of isolation, and in today’s day and age, cancel culture forces many people into a state of silent conformity.
Instead of expressing their uniqueness publicly, they opt to express it in the confines of their own space or, worse yet, suppress it entirely.
But if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?
Expressing our individuality without anyone seeing it doesn’t meet the deeper need we’re seeking to meet–being seen, heard, and accepted.
And so the brilliance of the individual spirit gets put on a dimmer switch.
Many of my clients end up visualizing this part as something that looks like this 😶.
Meanwhile, there’s another part of ourselves–I call it the Rebel Creative–that becomes furious with this approach.
This part of us wants nothing more than to express our unique viewpoints boldly.
And so an inner battle commences, and our inner peace is the cost.
As a result, we show a diluted version of ourselves to the world.
Instead of being a bright, bold blue, we’re showing up and painting with a brush repeatedly dipped in the same brownish water.
It works, for a while, because it doesn’t completely trigger the fears of the part that wishes us to conform silently, and it doesn’t totally aggravate the Rebel Creative because at least we’re saying something.
There’s nothing more annoying for a suppressed creative spirit than seeing someone else have the courage to buck the status quo and forge their own path.
This is why I love being around other Rebel Creatives, people who are willing to forge their own path, share their creations, and form perspectives about other people’s creations without feeling the need to rid these alternative perspectives from the world.
If we’re constantly around people who encourage the silencing of non-conforming voices, how will we ever speak our truth when the inevitable time we disagree with something that’s been said arrives?
When we censor one individual, we also sign up to censor ourselves at some point when the time comes.
That is a risk I’m not willing to take.
We are wired to create.
Part of the creation process is sharing our creations, which means opening ourselves up to rejection and being allowed to reject the ideas of others.
It’s no wonder we have an epidemic of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and ADD when we encourage people to ignore their creative impulses in favor of conformity and security.
The status quo is highly overrated.
Escaping reality by going with the flow of the masses is no way to live.
Creating our reality by honoring our inner spark and individuality is how we experience the satisfaction of true fulfillment.