Did you know that peer pressure doesn’t end with high school or college? There is in social pressure to conform, to be ‘normal’, to not be out of the mainstream. Appear too different and you will get flack. Yes, there is such a thing as common courtesy and a general golden rule assumption that you need to treat people with respect and not go out of your way to hurt others.

But there is a place for standing your ground and being yourself, regardless of how others view that, and try to push you into ‘getting with the program’ and ‘not rock the boat’. There have been times in our society and in our world when differences were severely discriminated against. Not just the all too familiar racism, sexism, homophobia, and age discrimination (both old and young), but others. There was a time when redheads (both my mom and grandmother were) were seen negatively – hot-headed and not reliable. Lefties, which two of my sisters were, were seen as sinister and disruptive and southpaw kids were often forced to write right-handed and punished when they reverted to their natural style.

There are places of work that assume that everyone is an early riser and latecomers are looked on with scorn, seen as lazy. I am an early bird from birth and I naturally arise before dawn. But I don’t assume that everyone is, nor demand that all conform to my ideal. Also, introverts (which I am ) are often looked on as shy or not assertive enough to be leaders. This seeks to negate their obvious carefulness that often results in improved results due to considering all factors before a decision is made.

That is not to say that we don’t need to change sometimes. We are all in the process of change. But it needs to be without denying who we deep down are. If something we do is harmful we need to change. But we first need to accept ourselves as we are and make sure we are changing to be the best person we can be. Be the best you that you can be. Realize that just like snowflakes you are unique. There is no one just like you.