Break the Chain of Societal Norms

December 12, 2022

By Meghan Greenwood

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We are all victim to it. A world developed around commercialized norms and thus, a mold we should all fit into. What has not been studied until the last decade or so is how it really and deeply affects our psyche. As humans, we are complex and simple, all at the same time. We have a lot of creativity, desires, curiosity…but at the end of the day, we all want to be accepted, successful, and loved. And when we don’t live up to societal standards, for some reason, we are seen as wrong.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend who no longer wants to do something she loves because of the way she feels in her body. It saddened me to hear that she would let our societal bar set the limits for her self-acceptance and enjoyment. It also angered me that even in 2022, we are still not able to look past the physical body to see the true spiritual self.

So this got me thinking of other societal norms. Other ways we are still living in an antiquated mindset. Things that we should be breaking, even at the smallest level.

For example, favorite color choice. My youngest son told me his favorite colors consisted of blue, green, pink and purple; to which my older son responded, “pink and purple are for girls!” Now, I am certain he didn’t hear this sentiment from me. But peer pressure at school and being around a collective ‘normal’ boy network has somehow shifted his perception of what he finds beautiful in a color! So odd to me. I made a point to indicate a gentleman on the trail the other day running in hot pink shoes – how fun!

Another one of my favorite anecdotes was when I heard radio personalities state that folks should be free to keep up holiday decorations in their yard all-year round if it makes them happy. While they were discussing the subject in a comedic manner, I really took it seriously. Why should we conform to the ‘right time of year’ to decorate our house? Who’s to say that I can’t leave up lights for every season because they make me smile? Who is setting these rules? Live how you want to live!

And coming back to the perfect physique. I’m a huge fan of certain companies at least trying to use models who aren’t cookie cutter. We should have representation of the average citizen, not unattainable (and photoshopped) beauty in every campaign. We should also be focused on health over weight loss. A healthy body comes in a range of sizes. In turn, acceptance of the body would increase confidence and boost mental health. A feed-forward cycle to ward off depression and create a more peaceful and progressive society. Isn’t this what we’re all after anyway?

Overall, I employ you to do you. If you want to do certain things or look a certain way, more power to you. We are only on this Earth for a short stint. Stop living up to everyone else’s standards.


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