For many of us it’s much easier to blend into a crowd than to stand alone. It gives you a sense of belonging yet at the same time a sense of anonymity and a sense of relief at not being the only one. Sometimes standing with a crowd is the only way we feel like we are really being heard – when our voices are blended with that of others and made louder. It’s like being member of a choir. The voices may not be strong or perfect when heard separately but in combination with the other voices it commands attention.
We feel emboldened when surrounded by people who appear to think and speak as we do. When I look at the coverage of political rallies on television that get out of control I wonder if the people attending the event would have behaved in the same manner if they were talking with a small group of friends. Maybe yes but maybe no. You go to a sporting event and watch fans get out of control breaking into arguments, drinking way too much, caught up in the collective feeling of the moment. What happens is that you can get caught up in the moment and momentum of the crowd and smother your true self in favor of the need to belong.
There is nothing wrong with joining a group or being part of a crowd. However, we should make sure it is a crowd or group that truly reflects our own needs and beliefs and we can still be confident and courageous enough to stand alone with our own voice.
As Mahatma Ghandi said “It is easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.“