We all understand to one extent or another that life is this struggle to survive and that your best bet lies in adapting to your environment. Life tends to be pretty resilient because of the genetics that have evolved from billions of years of natural selection. From what I understand, ideally an organism is to adapt to any environment it finds itself in. This is done to some extent by the activation and deactivation of genes as a response to the environment and if the living organism fails to do that, then new genetics must be evolved if the species is to survive in that particular environment. This is most applicable to microbes.
It's a whole different ball game with humans or any organism with a brain for that matter. Genetics more or less take a back seat to learned behavior. That's one boon having a brain has; it allows the organism to adapt its behavior without needing to evolve new genetics simply by learning a behavior that allows it to make the best of its environment, something that might be achieved within a single lifetime as opposed to generations.
Alright, getting to the point, for some time now the saying "don't care about what others think of you" has been something to question for me and now I can make certain distinctions; one is that it pretty much always applies to this context of one person measuring oneself by the approval of others. Then we have another which is about being conscious of how people around you might behave based on what they think of you, something that tends to be blurred together with the former. One example would be a homosexual keeping it secret if stuck in a homophobic (and often religious) family environment to avoid confrontation and most importantly, keep oneself safe from harm or guarantee one's survival in some other way. If that person has no other options for a place to stay and is, like stated earlier, stuck in that environment then coming about about one's homosexuality in that particular environment just because one shouldn't care about what others think would be shooting yourself in the foot. There have been a number of stories of homosexuals having been abused or murdered by homophobes. More extreme examples can be found back in the Dark Ages where speaking out about your beliefs, or lack of them, would be putting you at great risk of getting burned at the stake. Nowadays, this occurrence is mostly confined to places with their political systems in tatters.
The most obvious thing to do in these situations is to simply move away and isolate oneself from such an environment but what if that option isn't available?
Two choices I can see would be to either avoid displaying any behavior that could prove detrimental to oneself in some form in context to the surrounding people's interpretation of them. One might also pretend to conform or adopt the surrounding culture, at least in a way that doesn't prove to be detrimental to the individual in question. Going back to the introduction, the different genes and what they do can be thought of as the tricks the organism has up its sleeve. Like when you get a cut and your body gets to work by stopping the bleeding through coagulating the blood at the wound before the rest of the healing process. So what tricks could one have up its sleeve to make the best out of an alien cultural environment?