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It’s More Important to Fit In Than Be Myself

I just finished reading “The Fifth Mountain” by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho.  Though more religious in tone than some of his other works, I found the story an interesting look at destiny, passion, circumstance, and BullBusting! 

As we near the end of one year, and the beginning of the next, we often look at accomplishments and “failures” of the year gone by, and set new goals to challenge us and aspire to in the next.  Some of you may be yearning to come alive, to step into what you were truly destined for, and others may have given up on yourself, your destiny, your heart’s desire…

I have found that struggle continuously in my life – feeling I am called to be and do the unconventional, while simultaneously trying to “fit” into a conventional job, or try to honor the conventional values my family sets forth that don’t completely speak to me – how do I honor my destiny AND the people I love?  Is it even possible?  Which is more important – honoring myself, or fitting in?  Do I give in to the conformity I feel surrounds me, or do I strike out of the box?  The questions go on and on, and I think, no matter how much we think we’ve confronted ourselves, there is always another confrontation around the corner!

In “The Fifth Mountain”, the main character, Elijah, is born with the ability to to hear voices and speak with angels, and deemed a prophet.  An unconventional skill, that would make him stand out among conventional thoughts and actions.  Because Elijah’s parents feared his innate talent was dangerous, they demanded that he keep what he saw and heard to himself.  Over the years, he teaches himself to forget his visions until, eventually, they appear to him less and less.

“Man was born to betray his destiny. God placed only impossible tasks in human hearts.”

This was a quote that struck me in the book.  This is what happens to us all, when we have innate talents and skills that we deny.  Like an atrophied muscle, the talent, unused, seems to disappear, and, with it, a part of ourselves.  And, the more we allow these innate skills and dreams to fade and adjust to hiding our unconventional parts, the more we begin to believe that we cannot live those parts of ourselves, and talk ourselves out of our dreams, saying they were immature, impossible, and so forth.  Whatever it takes to make us feel better about giving up on ourselves.

Another quote that struck me was,

“Even more difficult is defining a path for oneself.  He who maketh no choice is dead in the eyes of the Lord, though he go on breathing and walking in the streets.” 

I have found this true as well.  When we walk between the choices in our lives, it can feel like we are dead, in an eternal state of limbo.  Avoiding choices may seem more comfortable, but remaining in limbo serves to deaden our nature even further, and be “half alive” walking a fine line.  A choice, any choice, though full of risk, confrontation, and drama, at least allows us to live fully.

So, how do we make those choices?  How do we take the risk to be ourselves despite the consequences we envision?  And, how do we overcome the regret of the time wasted in limbo along the way to that decision? 



How about this suggestion:

 “If you have a past that dissatisfies you, forget it now, imagine a new story of your life, and believe it.  Concentrate only on those moments in which you achieved what you desired, and this strength will help you to accomplish what you want.”

And, when confronted with the sadness and emotion in the wake of a choice:

“Sadness does not last forever when we walk in the direction of that which we always desired.”


So, it seems to me that the truth is, it’s more important to be ourselves than it is to fit in.  The irony is, the more we attempt to fit in by opposing ourselves, the LESS we are accepted by friends, colleagues, and the world at large.  Everyone senses we are not being authentic, that we are hiding some piece of ourselves, trying to conform, and that, in the end, causes those people to be uncomfortable around us, because, in the end, we are uncomfortable with our selves!  So, cut the bull!!  When you allow yourself to be, and show the world your true face, your true personality, your true essence, you become a person with whom they can relate much more easily.  I know it’s true because I’ve lived the experience myself, and continue to see my life head in a more satisfying direction every day that I just share my true self with the world, or with just one person.

In the spirit of busting through all our bullshit this year, and for the years to come, I wish for you that 2012 will allow you to step fully into who you are at the core, that you find the power and courage to take the risks that need taking, and find your way to being the most authentic, prosperous, complete person you can be!


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