I Have to Conform to Fit In
Today’s lie of the day just pisses me off! I find it so ironic how though our differences are what make us unique and special, we spend a good part of our lives trying to be just like everyone else.
And what for? In grade school, I had to wear a uniform – a white shirt, and a navy dress, or pants, provided by my school. It was kind of like a prison uniform, except for the lack of orange and stripes. This guaranteed that I looked like everyone else. In seventh grade, when, FINALLY, I got to pick my own clothes, well, it’s hard to figure out fashion when you’ve been wearing the same thing for so long, and suddenly, you get to wear anything! So, I went a little nuts mixing colors, had pin-striped jeans in purple and sky blue, and Farah Fawcett hair. And, what did that get me? TEASED! In our younger years, there is so much we try to hide just to avoid being teased, as if this is the most devastating thing that could happen to us.
If any of you have been, or are, an Expat, and moved to another country, then you know all too well that part of trying to fit in and make friends is about observing customs, and obeying them to a great extent, so that you don’t have to feel isolated. And, this can happen in adult life, and, even though you are free to wear anything you want, you may actually find yourself feeling restricted, down to the clothing you choose.
Growing up, many of us have parents that we admire and want to impress. So, we ask for their guidance, and try to impress them. Then comes the day when you suggest an idea that is so outlandish and crazy to them, they tell you something like, “You’d be stupid to do that!” or a phrase more or less harsh. Because they love you and want you to succeed, and see success as doing whatever they did to succeed, they believe that if you deviate from this path, your only road is failure.
So, you do all that you can to fit in a box. You choose clothes like everyone else, you may adapt an accent so you can speak like everyone else, if you talk a lot and no one else does, you quiet down, you choose a job that conforms to your parents and friends’ idea of success, and you might even choose a relationship that seems like everyone else’s.
And yet, despite fitting in, you are different. No matter how much of yourself you suppress, you are still you, pretending not to be. And how does that serve you? You make friends that you might not feel as close to as you like, you feel lost and unseen in your life, you end up with mediocre success, and only partially happy.
But, if you are willing to step outside the box, and just be who you are, you open up to a much richer life – full of friends and relationships with people who “get” you, work that makes you happy, and a life where you feel seen. The more authentic you are in your life, the more your life will resonate this authenticness. That’s the whole point!
And so, today’s Call to Action is for you to fess up. Are you really in integrity and alignment in your life, or are you “stuffing yourself down” in an attempt to fit in and be “normal”? Even if you wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone else, now is your time to admit it to yourself. Once you have admitted it, write down the areas of your life where you are aware of conforming (job, relationships, speech, clothing, food,….) and try to get an idea of how this makes you feel. In other words, are there any areas where the part of you that you are avoiding/repressing is fighting with you? If so, try to come up with one way that you might be able to let that part shine a little brighter.