Sometimes, do we feel like we don’t belong? Do we feel like we’re not part of the popular group on campus? At school? To be in that group, are you asked to sacrifice “who you are” as a person? If you’re older, do you recall a time when you tried to “fit in”? A time, when you did or said something you knew was wrong…just so you could feel like you were cool? To be a part of that crowd?
I can recall times in my life when I gave in. Times when I tried to be cool, tried to act hard, tried to go against my nature…all for the purpose of fitting in or being cool. My nature you might ask…I’m mild, calm, not really tough unless pushed to the limits, patient, kind, respectful…that is me in a nutshell. So why did I do it? Why did I smoke that, drink too much of that, treat that person that way, curse that, steal that, cheat on that…Why did I fight so hard to be so wrong? Why do you? Why did you? I am assuming we all aren’t perfect, but if this doesn’t apply to you…please share your strengths in the comment section. For others, answering WHY (i.e. fear, teasing, bullied, risk-taking, peer pressure) can be the first steps to “Standing Up and Standing Out”.
If trying to fit into the wrong crowd is something that bothers you, then allow me to offer you some encouragement. If this is a battle you overcame some time ago, please share your strategies with others reading this post. First, just to cover our basis…what is the wrong crowd? Chances are, if people around you are repeatedly hostile, arguing, causing strife, using illegal drugs, lazy, divisive, rebellious to authority, promiscuous sexually, angry, or even place money and material goods over people; chances are you don’t want these individuals to be your closest friends. This may not be the crowd you want to “run with” regularly (or at all). Why? Simply put, their negativity can “rub off” on you. They can bring you down, burden you physically and mentally, or place you in serious trouble or danger.
At this point, you might be thinking: “Well, everyone is bad…so I guess I’ll have no friends”. Although we all make mistakes, everyone is not of the wrong crowd. Everyone is not bad! When you don’t conform, you stand out! Standing up for your beliefs, for what you know is right (i.e. fair, moral, and ethical) attracts other positive people to you! When you stand out, it becomes easier for good people to find you! Furthermore, when you lead by good example, others will follow. Your leadership creates a path away from conforming with the wrong crowd, to establishing a good group of friends of your own. So when the WRONG crowd tries to put you down, Stand Up! When the WRONG crowd asks or tries to force you to be in their group, Stand Out! Be Strong, Be Encouraged, Be Comforted… for greatness comes to those who do good!