Social Pressure

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The pressure to conform with others’ expectations and beliefs can sometimes compel people to compromise their integrity and behave dishonestly.

As a child attending Catholic grade school, I felt tremendous pressure to behave as though Jesus existed. I was to believe this supernatural deity would save me from my sins and bring me to heaven. Without Jesus in my life, the priest and nuns told me I would be less moral than my peers. I was told by the church to be a good catholic and show my worthiness to Jesus.

To demonstrate my goodness and unyielding devotion to the religion, I participated in the morning service daily: I read The Bible, prayed to Jesus, and sang praises to God and The Holy Spirit. I even memorized The Ten Commandments in Chinese and English to impress my teachers and classmates. I submerged myself into the church and tried to convince myself to believe in Jesus.

My social interaction revolved around the church and its youth activities. One of my favorite activities, which I mastered, was to convert non believers to Catholicism. From first grade to fourth grade, I passed out religious pamphlets with my upper classmates in our neighborhood playground. We would approach people indiscriminately and found ourselves being ignored. I was discouraged by this

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ineffective strategy and decided to develop my own plan. By the end of fifth grade, I had my own procedures of operation and was ready to converse with the “lost” children in my age group. I would pick out a socially inept girl and befriend her by showering her with attention and praise. To gain her trust, I shared a glimpse of my life with her; however, I would not disclose my religious affiliation, not yet. Inevitab...

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...uently, I have a limited capacity in asserting my point of view.

As a society, conformity can have dangerous consequences because rigidity promotes intolerance. Throughout history, many evil acts and heinous crimes against

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humanity were the result of individuals following a mass belief instead of his or her own moral compass. When we do not feel free to express our thoughts and beliefs, we are more likely to disregard others’ feelings and opinions. We begin to devalue our fellow citizens whose beliefs are difference from the mainstream and fail to question unfair treatments that are imposed toward them. By dishonoring ourselves and our truth, we are not living a life that is fulfilling and meaningful. Without these basic attributes, we lose the ability to empathize and behave in ways that may harm ourselves and others.
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