Let's address the status quo...

Last week during my swimming class we all shared what we were doing for Valentine's Day. Rita (name changed) shared that she was going to an Italian Restaurant for dinner with her partner and had made a lovely 4-tier heart-shaped cake for him. We all applauded her for the heart-shaped cake and wished her a lovely dinner date. We then continued on with swimming. After the class was over, Rita and I were together in the elevator and ran into her partner who was carrying their dinner and explained that dinner reservations were canceled. I didn't think much and went home.

A few minutes later Rita messaged me to say that she wanted to apologize for lying about the dinner date and cake. I told her she didn't have to worry about it and that no explanations were needed. But Rita insisted on clarifying. She said, she felt that she had to make up her valentine's day plans because many people had grand plans and she felt left out for not partaking in this capitalist holiday. So, she made up something so she could "belong" to the majority. I assured her that she did not have to apologize to me and our friendship wouldn't be affected because of it. 

I then reflected on what she said. Basically, in order to conform and fit into societal expectations, she lied. And then when her lie was caught she was embarrassed and apologized. Now think about how many times we end up doing something because we don't want to go against societal expectations. This is exactly how false narrative or as Julie Battilana says legitimizing myth is birthed. We believe/conform to fit into something, don't speak up, and don't stand against the very systems that oppress us. By doing so, we maintain, encourage, and support the status quo. 

And on the flip side, can we create spaces that encourage individuals to challenge the status quo? Can we be kinder, nicer, and open to ideologies different than the norm? 

So next time, if you feel you are being forced to "fit" into a system you don't believe in, please stop, reflect, and take action. You don't have to fit into the system. You can go against it, For only then, can we address structural system change. And for the rest of us, let's create a safe space where people can challenge the status quo and go against the norm.