Life is now so competitive, about who we are, what we have, how we look and the lifestyle we lead, if we don’t fit in, we can easily feel inadequate. For teenagers and young adults, life is super competitive and social media is the king who tells us how we should look and be. With all the social media, we have a window into people’s lives, or do we? Or is it just all the amazing bits and lots of great camera angles and airbrushing? Nearly every week there’s a new story on some celebrity who has altered their images and has been caught out, but we still can’t help getting pulled into the images. It’s not just social media, it’s everywhere in our lives, it’s the mums waiting at the school gates, kids in school, the office, and the workplace, all of these can have the same pressures to conform and fit in. But what happens if we don’t? We can be left feeling inadequate, isolated, weird, not good enough and not feeling able to fit in. This can lead to anxiety, fears, and depression, as we find ourselves retreating into our minds and as we’re already feeling not great this can compound the negative feelings.
As a child I always felt weird, I didn’t fit in and couldn’t socialise very well, educationally I was classed as being a slow learner. My language wasn’t formed by the time I got to school and the only person that seemed to know what I was saying was my older sister, she used to translate everything for me. Of course, as I went to school on my own this was a big issue. Now it would be different, as children like me would have stuck out like a sore thumb and would have been given extra support, but back then this wasn’t the case and the teachers just said to leave her to it and they just put me at the back of the class. From that point on it was them and me, me being an outsider looking into the world, an observer who didn’t feel adequate or able to join in or fit in. I did progress and learnt to communicate, but always felt like an outsider, trying to fit in, leading me to the wrong types of people and situations and leaving school with just one CSE which now sounds like some religious education qualification!
I got a job and this was a turning point for me, I could sweep the past under the carpet and I then finally felt like I fitted in. I continued to work hard to fit in and I did become very successful in my career but was still unhappy. I tried lots of therapy and self-help, but hypnotherapy was my saviour and has helped me transform from the weird, super awkward child to a unique individual. I learnt that I was massively dyslexic when I started my degree and this was a light bulb moment for me. Striving to be the best version of myself and fit in has led me to be who I am but I am not sure it has always made me happy. I am happy to still be a bit weird or as I call it now “unique”, and I truly embrace myself as an individual. I understand this is who I am and I wouldn’t change it, I am not bothered about fitting in anymore and I am happy to be myself.
This is something we all need to learn to be, that is to be truly happy with just being ourselves and not having to fit in, in any way. Back in the 80s, it was pop socks, very big shoulder pads and lion king perms, all of those are so not in now and every decade has had it “in things”. These things change, so they don’t define us, it’s who we are inside that truly counts. Being the old me was so exhausting in my mission to try and fit in, always on red alert and super sensitive to what people thought of me. I know now that truly there is no need, it is safe to be you because that is who we are, what we see on social media, TV and the news only portrays a small section of our world.
The diversity of our society is ever-growing and being your unique self is the key, life is too short to pretend to be someone that you’re not and why would you, as it doesn’t make you happy? Instead of trying to fit in, spend time finding things in life that do make you happy, and that enables you to be yourself and this will start growing your confidence in who you truly are. It’s time to embrace every part of who we are, laugh things off and don’t take ourselves too seriously. If you want to see this from someone else’s viewpoint then take the time and think about the people who love you unconditionally and what they would think if they knew you weren’t being yourself around them. They would be hurt that you couldn’t be yourself with them and they would want you to be happy in your life, if they don’t then it is not to say they don’t love you, but it is not unconditional love.
Don’t waste another day being someone you’re not and trying to fit in with people, we have a unique opportunity in life to embrace diversity and find who we truly are. No one can do this for you, this is your journey and you might not know what will make you happy and enable you to relax and be yourself, but as you challenge yourself to do what’s right for you and find situations, experiences, and people that enable you to feel free to be you, it won’t take you long to find who you are. Sara x