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Why do people protest (The psychological drives behind protests & revoloutions)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people protest and start revolutions?

Sounds like a very strange question, right?
We all know that people protest to get their rights back, to object on whatever they don't like and to force dictators to step off their thrones.

But do all people protest for these same reasons? Pscyhology says no
While there are people who protest to get their rights back a large number of people might join protests for completely different reasons.

Because each person has different psychological needs 10 people could be protesting for 10 different reasons. In other words many people protest to satisfy their psychological needs while believing that they are protesting to get their rights back.

Psychological reasons behind protests and revolutions

Put in mind that these points don't describe people who started protesting to get a lost right back but it describes those who joined them for different reasons:

  • 1) To find an identity: Some people never believed they are worthy. They did their best to find anything to be good at but they failed then all of a sudden they found a golden opportunity to feel worthy. Those people go to protests in order to build the identity they were always searching for and to feel worthy. What can make a person feel more worthy than changing the fate of his country? Of course if you asked any of those people about the reason that made them protest they will reply saying that saving the country was their ultimate goal (see also Psychological identity problems)
  • 2) Peer pressure & Pleasing others: In the Solid Self confidence program i said that people who have a low self esteem do their best to please others just to get their approval. During revolutions and protests people start judging and criticizing those who don't participate in the events. Under the effect of peer pressure the ones with low self esteem find themselves forced to take a direction just to please others and not because they really believed in what was going on.
  • 3) The ones who have external locus of control: Some governments are really corrupt that they hardly allow people to succeed but even in these countries we see successful people emerging. Some people have messed up lives and as a result they want to find anyone to blame for their misery in order not to declare that they didn't hard enough. After all it will hurt less to blame the goverment than to admit that they were incompetent.
  • 4) The ones who had nothing else to do: Some people have boring lives. They have nothing to do nor they can find excitement anywhere. When something as exciting as a protest happens those people might join it just to reduce the boredom in their lives.
  • 5) Opportunity hunters: Some people join revolutions right before they turn successful. Those people are the ones who wait on the sideways then decide whom they are going to be with based on the final result. If for example the protestors were about to force the government to resign then many people might join the protest at this time just to claim that they were among the ones who did it

Why the second group will never admit these facts

The second group of protestors, or the ones who protest to satisfy their psychological needs, will never admit the fact that they are protecting for different reasons simply because many of them aren't even aware of what's going on in their subconscious minds.

Those people will defend their position in a very aggressive way because deep inside they know that if they lost a debate they will lose their new identity as well.

In other words, if a person went to a protest to feel worthy then unconsciously he will be aware of the fact that backing off will mean that he will become unworthy once again.

You can easily spot the people who protest for psychological reasons and not for the sake of their nation. Those people will tend to twist facts and alter their perception just to prove themselves right even if they discovered that they were wrong.

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by 2knowmyself.com; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

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