“From good people you’ll learn good, but if you mingle with the bad, you’ll destruct such soul as you had.” Theognis of Megara

 

As human beings, it is a given that one of our most basic needs is to feel that we belong. We are social creatures and we rely on society for our survival, starting with family bonds in infancy. It is no surprise, then, that the need to feel accepted is so strongly supported by emotions that we can sometimes find ourselves complying with and comforming to social rules in order to avoid being rejected and experiencing the psychological and physical pain that goes with it.

 

What happens when your need for acceptance by a social group fiercely contradicts another need or value that you hold to be true? The cognitive dissonance that you experience will lead to one or other of these opposing needs and values being ‘downgraded’ as if it was never really that important. Perhaps the group you feel you belong to does ‘bad’ things that you would usually strongly disapprove of. In order to stay in the group, ‘bad’ slowly creeps closer towards what you think is ‘good’. And then what is left of your core values?

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