Why do we do that?

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I handed the librarian my library card, she scanned it and then went to the back shelf to pick up the books that I had placed on hold. I had just finished a book and was searching for something new to read. I had sent my friend a text to get some suggestions, to which she sent me a list of six books. I decided to check them all out.

One of the books was the 2nd book in a series I had never read before. My friend told to start with book two and read the entire series and then read book one. As the librarian handed me my stack of books, I picked up book 2 of the series and asked her if she had ever read this series. If she had I wanted to know her opinion about starting with book two instead of book one. She answered abruptly and with a hit of disgust saying, “I don’t read Christian Fiction.”

In a split second, I found myself wanting to say something like “Yea, me neither.” Which of course was not true. But instead of opening my mouth I stopped myself and suddenly became very curious about my reaction. Why was I about to lie about the type of books I like to read to this librarian? Why do we do that? Why do we say and do things that are not in alignment with our true opinions, perspectives, values, and/or beliefs? Why do we alter our views under pressure?

I remember standing in the front of the Jr. High by the pay phone after a basketball game waiting for a ride home.  The pay phone was the place where everyone gathered because that was the only phone available for us to call our parents for a ride.

While I was standing there among the variety of groups and tribes that are created in Jr. High I overheard the group of boys standing next to me telling some crude jokes. I laughed. I did not think they were funny, but I laughed. I didn’t even like the boys, but I laughed. Why?!

Why do we at times modify our values, beliefs, likes, dislikes, opinions, views,  and perspectives? Maybe to be feel accepted by others. Maybe to feel valued. Perhaps it is because we don’t want others to view us unfavorably.

This is one reason why I see so much value in developing a strong sense of self. A strong sense of self frees us from the bondage being dependent on others to give us a sense of worth and importance. And strong sense of self increases our ability to act with integrity.