“Rules” to Review in Being True to Yourself

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When is a rule, not a rule?

We grow up thinking many things are set in stone. There are rules all around us. Some for fire safety. Some to protect our possessions. Some to keep things the way they've always been.

More complicated is the idea of societal norms. Societal norms are “the unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered acceptable in a particular social group or culture."

They become so commonly accepted that people think of them as absolute rules when in truth, they are not.

Societal norms certainly have their place and function, but sometimes they can do more harm than good, especially when it comes to doing what's right for the sake of your mental health and emotional well-being.

How do you know which societal norms you must break to be true to yourself? Think about these four things:

This is the Way It's Always Been Done

It seems no matter what you're talking about, trying to convince someone they should do something different is always an uphill battle. After all, it's always easier to keep things exactly as they are.

Change is difficult. Which is why it's hard to convince ourselves sometimes just how much success relies on change. You can't get anywhere new in your life if you're always doing the same thing over and over. Because as the saying goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”

It's Expected

Everyone has expectations. Our parents may have placed certain educational expectations on us. Our friends expect us to do what they're doing, especially when it comes to lifestyle choices. Even our significant other expects us to behave in specific ways sometimes.

The problem? When we live to other's expectations, we forget to stay true to ourselves. Maybe we don't want college or kids. Or our picture of success is entirely different from someone else's.

Mirror Images

We should all be exactly alike. Right? Sometimes it seems this way. Societal norms often discourage those who are different from the norm and even make fun of them for being odd or eccentric.

How do you feel when you want to do something a little 'different' from everyone else? It takes courage to stop being a mirror image of those around you.

It's What You See

We are shaped by movies, TV; the Internet. Many people listen to very limited, select sources for truth about everything.

Our culture make celebrities our role models and take information from the sketchiest of sources sometimes – even if they are not experts in the area they’re talking about. Isn't it better to gather information from a variety of sources, think for yourself and then decide?


Carefully review the “rules” that are unwritten, but integral to the societal norms of your social group or culture. Are they helping or hurting you stay true to yourself?


I agree what was acceptable behavior on the playground was never acceptable at home. Those people we surround ourselves with makeup what is and is not acceptable.