Saturday, 22 September 2018

I'm done fitting in, and so should you

When we are young, all we want is to fit in. It's a basic human instinct to blend in instead of standing out, because it's safer. In the animal kingdom, sticking out can lead to being eaten - in the human world, it can lead to being made fun of, bullied, or ignored. 
I was no different. All my life, my goal was to fit in. I wanted to be like everybody else around me, because I always felt just a little different - and there is nothing worse for a kid than to feel like you don't belong. So I did what all shy kids do: I observed the behavior of the people I wanted to be friends with, and tried to imitate them. 
I wasn't very good at it. I'm a terrible actress and an even worse liar, and faking to like something that I didn't was so much work, I wondered if it was worth it. However, the next period of loneliness would always be waiting around the corner, and when I was lonely enough I was once again willing to do almost anything to have friends. 
What I didn't know then was that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing at all. In fact, they are completely different from each other. 
When you try to fit in, you adjust your behavior, your likes and dislikes, the way you dress and how you act according to your environment. In short: you try to be someone you are not. Belonging is the complete opposite. It means being 100% yourself and finding a place in the world that feels like home. It's finding people you can be yourself with. 
Fitting in is about how to fit in; belonging is about where you fit in. 
You can't force belonging. It has to happen organically. If you feel like you don't belong, here is what you can do: get to know yourself. We are surrounded by so much noise, so many opinions and outside influences that it can be hard to separate our own thoughts from the ones of others. It's easy to get confused about our own beliefs and values. Getting to know who we are takes time, self-reflection and some serious soul searching. But it's essential that we do that, because if we don't know who we are, how can we belong?
Get to know you. Fall in love with who you are. The happier you are with yourself, the more you will attract other people. We are all drawn to people who radiate contentment, peace and serenity. The best part? Once you find happiness in yourself, your desire to fit in will seize to exist. You simply won't have that need anymore.
I believe that being by yourself is much better and healthier than being with the wrong people. Nothing makes you feel lonelier than being with "friends" you don't belong to. 
Trying to fit in will keep you small - being proudly yourself and blazing your own trail will set you free!


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6 comments

  1. I love this. I think so many people try so hard to fit what they think people expect them to be, and that's where unhappiness really stems from. Even if you do fit in by society's standards, is it truly "you" or just the cookie cutter version of "you"? Finding 'belonging' is definitely something I've been working on and I finally feel like I'm getting there :)

    And I love how wonderfully YOU that YOU always are!!!

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    1. I'm still struggling with caring too much about what people think of me. The little people pleaser inside of me is hard to get rid of!
      That's why I write these posts, to remind myself and anyone who needs it to let go of the concept of fitting in.
      Like you said, I think that's the key to true and lasting happiness!

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  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! In this post I see myself so clearly… I also was a shy kid always trying to fit in - and I wondered why I often felt lonely… now I often have a strong feeling that I'm not lonely at all, even when I'm alone… but more "united with eyeryone… and the universe itsself ;-DDD" Sounds mad, but who cares… ? I love this post - that's IT.
    xxxxx Maren

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    1. You don't sound mad at all, that's exactly what I'm trying to say here! "United with everyone and the universe itself" - YES!!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. The best thing I did was stop fitting in and learn to love myself. Even now if I hesitate to post something, I stop myself and post it anyway. THIS IS ME! Don't like what I say? There's the door.

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    1. You are several steps ahead of me once again, my friend! But I'm gonna get there.
      "There's the door" is gonna be my new mantra!

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