Constantly we are told to ‘be ourselves’ but with such societal pressures, this is very difficult. We each have our own idea of who we want to be. Those wanting to be themselves may seem ‘weird’ to one yet ‘loveable’ to another. Is society actually encouraging us to be ourselves or are we slandered the second that we act out of character? We should not have to try and compromise our integrity or beliefs meet societies pressures, or gender norms and stereotypes for instance.
Stereotypes must be challenged.
Stereotypes are an important element of celebrating individuality, as people can form prejudice and assumptions of a particular character. For instance an older adult may be assumed as vulnerable or weak, and that they all sit around doing nothing. This is a sweeping generalization though as there any many cases of age not limiting an older adult – such as 100 year old marathon runners. People like this should be taken seriously for their individuality and not just grouped into an ‘old, incapable of physical activity’ group.
Stereotypes aren’t always accurate or appropriate.
Younger people also need to be taken seriously though, as we are all unique and enjoy different things. Not every student wants to ‘party’ and not every older adult wants to be cooped up in their bed or in a bingo hall. Perhaps these interests can actually be contrasting to the stereotype, as an older adult may enjoy getting out more often than the younger person. The issue regarding this is the potential exposure to peer pressure or the fear of missing out – particularly if someone is labelled as’boring’.
Be yourself but free of guilt.
‘Boring’ just like’fun’ is a subjective word for me, in that we can all interpret and judge what is ‘boring’ or ‘fun’, differently. There is no need to feel guilty for doing what makes you happy, nor is there a need to feel pressure to do what everyone else is. A simple saying that I love to say is ‘you, do you’ which is pretty self explanatory. Always stick by your beliefs and your interests and try not to compromise yourself for the convenience of others. This can be difficult especially through teenage years and it happens to the best of us. But it is worth it to wait around for supportive friend that will accept you.