Allah has honored us. Chose each and every single one of us. Hand picked us to be a part of His universe. That is an honor none can bestow upon us except the Creator, Himself. Had it not been for Him, we would have been a thing unmentioned. Nonexistent. So, he blessed us with Islam, which obligates it upon us to stand out, to be distinct, and to be the best in every direction we take.
However, some of us don't know this, don't care to know, or others, even while knowing this, are not happy being an honored creation. Somehow, the Muslim feels inadequate or inferior among the non-Muslims or even among the non-practicing Muslims. So they try to blend in and look just like those whom we are warned not to imitate. When another haram trend comes out, we think it is now halal or pleasing to Allah, because we have slightly modified it. For example, Muslim sisters style their hair as a "camel hump." It is clearly spoken out against by our Beloved, Muhammad (peace be forever upon him). What about the "halal" nail polish? Water may be very possible to reach the actual nail so it may not invalidate your wudhu, but the fact that so many of us got so excited and hurried to buy it, because we could now wear nail polish, kind of makes me wonder where the now and future mothers of our Ummah are headed. It may add "beauty" to the nails, but I think that the way nails are naturally is beautiful as well. Seriously, look at them. It should make you thank Allah. Islam encourages us to choose from an ocean of beautiful, cool, fun, productive and inspiring things to do, but stay away from the few things that would distance us from our Creator, Allah. I'm just curious: what makes that which is haram or disliked (makruh) appealing to us? What makes brothers want to wear tight clothes or sag their pants, or sisters who wear lots of makeup (not referring to medical skin conditions) and wear clothes but are not really covered (outside of their homes)? Doesn't it make you feel relieved to know that Allah, your Maker, is pleased with your creation just as you are?
It should not matter that others (even if they be our very own families and "friends") look down upon us or ostracize us, because we started to cover up a little more, or that the brothers started growing their beards or if we don't have the iPhone 5 or if we stopped vulgar language and now we seem a little "boring" because we are not loud or "humorous" like others, or if we stopped gossiping and now others don't want to be around us because they have nothing to talk to you about. Just know that Allah recognizes, acknowledges, remembers, rewards and InshaAllah, loves you because you are striving to please the Creator, and not the creation.
Being distinct among creation obligates upon us a lifestyle that is very different from the one whose desire is only this world. That includes the way we dress, speak, act and most importantly, believe. We, Muslims, must not imitate them in that which would displease Allah even though we live in this country, but rather we must maintain that which makes us stand out as Muslims.
There may be many reasons why Muslims try to act according to other than Islam, but I think one of the reasons may have a lot to do with the fact that Muslims are a minority. So, because we are outnumbered, we might feel that our way of life is inferior. But the fact that we are a minority, may be a blessing. In a world where so many are heedless or ignorant of the perfect way of life, yet you still try to be a pious, righteous, strong Muslim...Imagine your rank with Allah.
In writing this, my intention was only to please Allah, not to hurt, or offend anyone. May Allah be pleased with us all. Ameen.