Forget Fitting In: Try Being Authentic Instead
Forget Fitting In: Try Being Authentic Instead
Can I ask you, why do we so badly want to fit in? What is the drive, deep within us that pushes us to be anything but ourselves in order to be acceptable to, and accepted by, others? How is it possible that we choose the acceptance of our peers over our own? It seems ridiculous. And yet, we are overwhelmingly more likely to go against our own nature in order to please our friends, family and even colleagues! What is the appeal, and the pull of fitting in that is so magnetic?
Before we get into why fitting in should come from a place of authenticity, lets look at why it’s so important to us that we fit in. Then we can gently look at different ways to view life from a more authentic and loving perspective that will benefit us so much more than just going with the flow all the time, for the sake of fitting in.
We want to be Accepted
Ok, so we can see why we would want to be accepted into a group of people. It is the equivalent of getting a seal of approval or an award of some kind. We all need this and its perfectly normal and okay. Where we slip up is how far we are prepared to stray from our own personal values and sense of identity in order to fit in with our chosen group. It can get so bad that we wake up one day and realize that, yes we are accepted, but we barely even recognize ourselves anymore. We have taken on an almost entirely different persona.
Wouldn’t it be better to find a group that is naturally inclined to accept you, as you are, instead? Sadly, we tend to take the easy road in life. We ‘go with the flow’, or ‘keep the peace’. I get that. Life is tough. But, if we stay true to ourselves we will not feel like we are carrying a weight on our shoulders because of being dishonest with ourselves. Fitting in will happen on its own, without the pressure to be ‘someone else’. Stay true to yourself always. The wait to find ‘your tribe’ is so worth it.
We want to be Acknowledged
Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged for their contribution? When we are recognized and praised for our contributions to our groups, whether work or social, this is our gold sticker that says we are fitting in. We ‘did good’. A good old pat on the back is just the best boost of confidence, isn’t it! So, we can understand why we would try to gain acceptance. It’s a window of opportunity to prove yourself. To impress!
But, why are we trying to impress others? I mean, fitting in doesn’t make us any better than we are without the gold star. Hmmm. So, if we were more concerned with impressing ourselves or, more to the point, not impress anyone at all, would we actually be happier? It’s all self-worth at the end of the day. Be your own cheerleader. Stop concerning yourself with the gold stars of the world and see yourself as enough as you are.
We want to Belong
We humans have that sense of needing to belong. Ultimately it all comes down to love. In fact, the entire subject of this blog comes down to feeling loved in this life. When we feel surrounded by love we feel accepted, and we feel that we belong. My question is, wouldn’t you want to feel that sense of belonging for being who you were created to be, instead of feeling the need to put up a mask? Fitting in, but not as your true self, will ulitmately leave you feeling empty.
To truly belong is different to fitting in. Understand that to feel that unconditional love and sense of belonging you have to be living your authentic truth. Don’t misunderstand me here, you can experience wonderful friendships where you are on the receiving end of love, but until you live authentically you will never be able to enjoy the freedom of giving that love. You will always be holding back. And that sense of belonging that you are looking for will feel lacking, even if others are trying to give it to you.
The other end of the Spectrum
If we were able to strip away these understandable needs and to look at the rewards of just being honest and authentic, what would life look like? What would it look like if we decided it was more important to be authentic than to fit in? Or if we understood that maybe it’s more important to find the people that accept us as we are than to fit in with people that maybe aren’t even in line with our: values, sense of humour, priorities etc.
How do we celebrate our uniqueness if we are trying to fit in? Stepping into your own unique identity is a freeing and empowering thing to do. It is a way of stamping your mark on the world, declaring ‘Steph (insert name) was here’. Being proud of who you are and the role you play in this world. Look at it as an opportunity to declare proudly to the world that you are here to play, authentically and proudly as who you were sent to this earth to be!
Fueling Your Fire
When we are in that ‘safe’ little illusion bubble of fitting in we can become so comfortable that we stop stoking the fire that fuels us as individuals. In other words, we let our creativity and our individuality slip away in favour of being accepted by our peers. But, this is like taking a beautiful, ornate flower vase, purpose built, and using it to dump all your used tea bags into. Its purpose is completely lost! Don’t let that happen to you.
Find your authentic voice. Find your spark, your individuality and your gifts. And then, find your purpose! That reason for living that calls to your soul. That drive that gets you up in the morning, leaves you wanting more. Chase after it and be true to it, because that is what you are here for. NOT just to fit in!
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