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Social Mores: Should You Ignore Them and Challenge the Status Quo?

Social Mores

Social mores aren’t social morals. Sometimes it is not only appropriate, but right to challenge them. Just be prepared if you do.

Social mores are something that we decide, as a society, what is acceptable to do and what is not. It isn’t about what we do in private. In fact, many of the things that we do in private we wouldn’t ever do when in public.

That is what makes social mores so, well, hypocritical. It is okay to pick your nose when you are alone, but don’t do it in public. It is totally acceptable to be naked in your house, but not once you step out the door. See the hypocrisy?

I suppose if there were no social mores we would all be walking around doing whatever we wanted, offending people and scaring small children. The key to social mores is that you don’t allow them to squash who you are, or to define you. [Read: Proper social etiquette – 12 rules that redefine modern manners]

Things to be prepared for if you go against social mores

Just because everyone else thinks something isn’t cool or acceptable, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t or shouldn’t do something. Social mores come and go, so what is okay today might not be tomorrow.

Sometimes it is a good thing to follow social mores, especially if they were created for public good. But, there are times when you have to go against the grain and do what your heart tells you is right. If you are going to break social mores, you have to be okay with the fallout.

If you do break away from the crowd and walk to a different drum, then you have to be prepared for the consequences. Before you decide that you aren’t going to accept what other people think is acceptable, make sure you are prepared for these four things. [Read: 10 no-nonsense signs you’re a people hating misanthrope]

#1 Know who you are and what your values are. If you step outside of what people consider is appropriate within a society, make sure that you know who you are and why you are doing something that is outside of the social norms.

Knowing your values and accepting who you are before you break the code is important to make it through the scrutiny that can follow. Make sure that if you are going to go against any social mores that you know why you are doing it and that you have a greater purpose than to blindly follow along with what everyone already accepts is real and true.

Once you know that you are going against popular thought with a purpose, then you won’t second guess your decision, nor will you care what people think about your actions or behaviors. That old saying “If you are alright with you, then you don’t have to worry,” applies here. [Read: How to be a more socially conscious person]

#2 Careless about what people care about. Social mores might be something that we all “accept” as the golden rule, but that doesn’t make it right. There were many social mores that came before that have been challenged and changed because culture is an ever-evolving thing.

The thing about going against social mores is that you have to stop caring what people think. If the civil rights leaders hadn’t sat at the wrong counter or taken the wrong seat on the bus, then we would still be accepting social mores that were harmful to us all.

The thing that allowed those people to go against what they were told was right was their lack of concern about what people think. If you stop caring so much about people judging you or what they have to say, then you will be surprised at how easy it is to do what you know is right.

Going against accepted ways of conduct and not feeling guilty about it is simple. Stop caring about what people think and walk to the beat of your own drum. If you aren’t hurting anyone else or infringing on their rights, then do what you want to do and don’t look back. [Read: How to care less and stop giving a damn what people think]

#3 Know you are going to make people upset. There are many people who guide their lives, their behaviors, and every decision they make, by social mores. In essence, they never go against popular thought. That also means that they never question the status quo. That doesn’t make them morally higher than you.

If you are going to go against social mores, then you better be prepared for the wrath of those who will be upset. Almost like marching in a band, when someone gets out of line, the line leader’s job is to get them back in.

When it comes to social mores, the same is true; there will always be line leaders trying to get you to do things the way that they have always been done and never straying.

It is okay for people to challenge you. But remember, if you think that you are doing the right thing and are right with yourself, then don’t worry about confrontation or someone trying to squash you back into doing what they think is right. [Read: 5 real lessons to deal with judgmental people]

#4 Don’t get all riled up. If you are going to go against social mores, then that is on you. In saying that, although you have decided not to go with the flow, it is not your responsibility to start a new line or to chastise those who don’t agree with you.

Don’t fight fire with fire, or lose your cool. It is best just to do what you want to do and forget about what everyone else wants to do. It isn’t worth it. Social mores are those things that are accepted in a society as “just the way that things are.”

They work to keep people in line, protect the community, and decide on shared unwritten rules about how things are done. That doesn’t mean that they are always based on fact or any moral standard. They aren’t social morals; they are social mores. That is why it is okay if you think that something isn’t fair and you don’t agree with a rule or notion, that you walk to your own beat.

If you are going to go against a social more, however, it is important that you consider whether your actions will affect other people in a negative way. And, to decide if you are prepared to upset some people around you.

[Read: 12 steps to change your life and find your happiness]

If you are okay with you, then you shouldn’t have to worry about the judgment of other people or if you are doing the right thing. You won’t be the first person in history to go against social mores, and sometimes, good change only comes from those who challenge the status quo.

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Julie Keating
Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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