Written Thoughts · February 24, 2023

Adapting and Conforming

What’s the difference between adapting and conforming?

I’ve been thinking of that lately.

I always pride myself on my ability to adapt to new environments and conditions, but I find it difficult to conform, but does that mean I’m not flexible enough that I don’t have it in me to conform to a certain order or system?

Okay, let’s examine both concepts on their own.

To adapt is to develop new skills that help you survive in a new environment. Or to just look at the environment around you and look within yourself and ask what skills do you already have that you can use in this environment. You give and contribute to this environment, and receive from it in return.

To adapt you need to be flexible and open to new ideas, and allow yourself to be vulnerable to learn new things, and you also need to be intelligent and observant enough to put things together and make them work, to navigate the chaos, to be in harmony with a new ecosystem.

The environment welcomes your contributions, and you welcome the knowledge and growth the environment gives you, it’s a relationship based on love and trust.

What about conforming?

Conforming is only required in a human-made system that doesn’t accept change.

Meaning, whatever skills or contributions you can add to that system are not welcomed.

The system accepts only certain things, and you have to do them exactly the way the system wants.

To conform is to blindly follow another entity’s wishes just to be a part of it.

To conform you don’t need skills or intelligence, you just need “fear”.

Your need to be part of that system has to be stronger than your need for self-fulfillment and growth.

And the only way for a human to be in that position is if they’re desperate, if they’re completely overtaken by fear.

Conformity is total submission and erasing of one’s character, for the sake of an order, system, or entity that doesn’t want to change.

You cannot even put conformity and adaptation in the same category.

One is made of love and adds something to the universe. And the other is made of fear and destroys the possibility of anything new, leading to entropy.

I refuse to conform. My gut instinct warns me every time it’s required of me.

And people would sometimes tell me that I’m not flexible enough because I wouldn’t take someone else’s orders without discussion, or that I wouldn’t conform to toxic societal norms. And they’d tell me “Why can’t you just adapt?!”

And that messed with my mind for quite some time, because I know I’m a very adaptable person, so why is it that I find it difficult to conform?

I decided to be part of society for some time as a social experiment. And that’s how I learned in the end that conforming and adapting aren’t the same thing at all!