“I don’t fit in, especially with my family”.” I am an outsider”. Over the years I have heard this phrase many times.
I think great! Not fitting in makes an authentic life possible... It is more difficult to be of help, when a client is invested in being like others, and not interested in exploring individual uniqueness.
Most of us are somewhere on the seesaw, with each placement having consequences. At one extreme, we can feel stuck living lives of boredom and sameness but with an illusion of safety and security, while at the other end are those who risked making the choice of breaking free to create a richer tapestry.
What does what fitting in look like?
Where is your position on the path?
Do you buy the illusion that if you are more like “them,” family members, church members or people in our community, somehow you will be safe and secure, with the possibility of happiness. Illusion is a metaphor for the areas of our lives whereby we substitute something that fits our faulty beliefs, rather than risk reflection, and face the truth. We hold on, or stay stuck, because it offers just that, an illusion of safety and security.
When we fit in we tend to be more like those around us. Our initial sense of self or sense of identity is formed by assimilating the feelings, beliefs, and behaviors of those around us. We come into the world helpless and in our early years we need to assimilate what others provide in order to have a structure to lean on.
I am not suggesting that you desert your family, at the same time realize sometimes our loved ones have trouble supporting change. Problems arise, when we are old enough to question, to explore, to express in order to start our journey, and we opt to stay safe, and asleep. The soul nudges us to move out of the box, to know that there is more, never the less we are fearful and often deny the prompt.
Create a visual of what your life would look like if you fit in. I’ve had people, who fit in, describe how bored they are with the everyday sameness of their lives. Boredom is frequently accompanied by a low grade depression, and a loss of pleasure in usual pleasurable activities. Not feeling any joy, courage or freedom, the complaint is that every day is like every other day. If married, the relationship is likely to be a flattened emotional experience. Many families do not welcome the fresh air of diversity, and discourage differences. They may watch the same TV programs, choose the same political party, travel to same locations, and choose certain approved careers, even choosing the same sports or clubs. A tight little box of sameness makes it difficult to break away.
If you live this way and put it to music, what would you hear? Where is the space for new ideas, taking risks when one continues to be surrounded by people who hold onto the status quo, and do not encourage an adventure?
We cling to the familiarity, rather than examine the true nature of reality. We live in a world where there is no perfection and events are not predictable. The more one tries to control events the more rigid and the smaller that person’s world becomes. So where do we start those of us who want to give up the illusions? To begin, develop a commitment to face the truth.
What then is the truth?
We are conditioned to seek comfort, avoid discomfort... The story goes as follows: It is possible to fit in, to live in an ideal world where things come easily and unpleasant experiences can be avoided. It also suggests if your life is not like this, something wrong with you. The conditioning is very powerful and if not examined, rules the quality of our lives.
The media through powerful marketing portrays others as not having to deal with the adversity of daily living. They are presented as physically perfect, never lacking love or companionship and are confident and secure within themselves. We are pressured to look a certain way, buy certain products so we can be more like this group who seem to have few inconveniences in their life. What happens when we put our real lives next to this illusion of perfectionism?
Comparison of self to others is a dangerous sport, and when we compare our lives to a snapshot of an ideal, frozen in time, we are bound to come out wanting. An illusion is static.
There are ways to wake up. First we have to accept that life is a process and we learn as we go that there is no time when things will be just right to change, as when we lose that last ten pounds, or retire. Let’s get real! Whose life works that smoothly?
The real problem is a belief that if we fit in, there is a possibility of a life without pain, suffering, adversities, and all the inherent struggles. To live more authentically we have to be courageous enough to work through and release beliefs that no longer work. Faulty beliefs keep us from living our own rich, messy ways.
In “Journey into a Passionate Life, a Transformational System” I assist you in uncovering what holds you back and in the accompanying Workbook, you are given tools, exercises and strategies to work through the obstacles. I show you how to believe in yourself when times are hard. In every crisis there is an opportunity for us to grow stronger and more authentic.
See life’s struggles through the lens of spiritual expansion and higher meaning. Realize that to be alive is to feel uncertain. Along with the struggles, there are parallel tracks of awe, wonder, joy and curiosity. When you know your authentic self, you will not settle for somebody’s idea of how you should live. It is often an easier journey when you don’t fit in.
So you do not fit in! Congratulations!