From the Daily OM:
The ability to go into any social situation and sense the level of consciousness in that situation is a gift. It enables us to move considerately in a world that holds people of all levels of awareness. However, there is a difference between shifting our energy to accommodate people and dumbing ourselves down to a regrettable degree. Sometimes, when we get into a particular social situation, we may feel pressure to play it small in order to fit in. Perhaps everyone is drinking or smoking excessively, engaging in gossipy small talk, or complaining bitterly about politics. It is one thing to notice this and modify our expectations and another thing entirely to join in.
When we notice where people are coming from and acknowledge to ourselves that their energy is not in alignment with ours, we have several choices as to how to proceed. One viable option is to quietly endure the situation, keeping to ourselves until it is time to leave. In this way, we take care of our own consciousness and protect our growth process. Another option is to interact in a way that honors and pays respect to the people in the group, while gently attempting to shift the level of consciousness with our input. In order to do this, we must maintain our own vibration, which means that joining in by dumbing down is not an option.
When we choose to dumb ourselves down to fit in, we not only sell ourselves short but we also lose a possible opportunity to influence the situation for the good of all concerned. Our desire to join in may come from our natural yearning to feel connected to the people around us. There is no shame in this, but being able to stand on our own, separate from the crowd, is a powerful milestone on any spiritual path. It can be difficult in the moment, but when we arrive on the other side, our integrity intact, we may find ourselves feeling positively smart.
This is something that I struggle with and I just need to learn to let go and be myself and learn not to get sucked in. We naturally have a desire to be accepted and loved but often it is at the expense of Self.