“As we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others” Marianne Williamson
In a study, led by a team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and published in Psychological Science it has been discovered that the desire to conform is probably something we are born with. An experiment conducted with 2 year old toddlers as well as chimps and orangutang revealed that humans have a natural desire to conform even if it takes away their individual pleasure. In the experiments the chimps, apes and children were asked to drop a ball into a box divided into three sections, one of which always resulted in a reward (chocolate for the children, a peanut for the apes). After the kids/apes etc realised that they got a reward if they put the ball in the right box they then watched a group of their peers do the same thing, but in this case their peers did not get a reward.
When the original group were given their next turn the group who did not get a reward were watching them. This time 50% of the children appeared to deliberately put the ball in the wrong box (The apes didn’t care and carried on scoffing all the hard won peanuts!) Although it wasn’t that the children had forgotten which box gave them the yummy chocolate because when the children were not being watched they tended to switch back to putting the ball in the correct reward box.
Another profound experiment in this area shows the uncanny power of group influence. The Asch experiment (video below) was first used in the 1950’s but has been repeated many times with the same result. In this case we see a man in a group who does not know that the others are part of the experiment. Everyone is asked a simple question (simply which is the longest drawn line of 3 lines) the answer is very obvious but when the whole group give the wrong answer the unwitting loner ends up agreeing with the the group against blatant logic. Shockingly this is how ingrained our desire to conform can be!
The truth is we are hard wired to change our behaviour to fit in, this is so deep rooted we might not even be aware how often we do it. While this may be an evolutionary development to strengthen community it can also lead us to make decisions in adult life which limit our free will and freedom. How can we create our reality if we are unconsciously ruled by our need to fit in and agree with group opinion?
1/ Be vigilant – When making a decision take time out alone to weigh up all the facts and if you find yourself changing you decision because a group (family/friends etc) disagree with you remind yourself that you are free to choose. Whenever you feel yourself agreeing with a group even if you know it is wrong DON’T! Free yourself to be truly you.
2/ Write it down – Before you announce an important decision that people may disagree with write it down. Explore it fully, know why you are doing it and how passionately you feel about it. Find support from friends and run it by people who will support you so you don’t feel alone. This should strengthen your resolve.
3/ Stalk your thoughts – Listen to what you say and think. Your inner voice and intuition will KNOW when you are kidding yourself or agreeing for the sake of it. Pay attention to your feelings and body and note down any discomfort. If necessary take time out or don’t commit.
4/ Join forces – To counteract others influence find a group that is on your wave length and who are maverick enough to support your freedom. Expand your circle and mix with people on the same vibration. Find a new tribe but still value your own unique beliefs.
5/ You are a unique soul – Your own journey and voice is important. To expand, to evolve and to create your reality it’s important to have a strong inner voice and to understand when others are influencing you against your souls calling.
6/ Do it for others – To speak your truth and be true to your heart you become a warrior of love. When you stand in your truth you empower others to do so.
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