As children we often want to fit in with our peers, we want to belong and feel part of the group. No one likes feeling like an outsider. Childhood is full of opportunities and experiences that teach us how to fit in or how to deal with not fitting in. Whether we fit in or don't fit in, each experience is attached to a feeling and emotion that creates our beliefs about who we are.
We hold onto these beliefs throughout childhood and our adult-self uses these beliefs for every choice you make.
Beliefs your child-self created that often go hand and hand with our adult-self not fitting in can include seeing yourself as a third wheel, you're often left out, you don't belong, there must be something wrong with you, you're odd, better to remain in the background and not draw too much attention to yourself, not speaking up for yourself, feeling uncomfortable in social situations, difficulty making friends, you're not smart enough, pretty enough, good enough, educated enough; the list is endless.
When your adult-self is trying to "fit in" it's often because you haven't yet learned who you are and the value of being you. When you know who you are, you set standards and boundaries you are unwilling to allow others to undermine. You are mindful of your time because you know if you don't manage your time, others will manage it for you. You say what's on your mind because you know your suggestions have merit but you are also open-minded to what others think and say. You understand that every healthy relationship is reciprocal and you deserve to be heard, seen and valued.
Understanding that your inner child is still very much a part of you, if he or she is still holding on to those feelings and beliefs about what it felt like not to fit in you may find yourself going out of your way to give more than you have to give. You may allow others to dictate how you spend your time (this often shows up when you feel obligated to volunteer for something) or you become an "over-giver" giving to others and not having enough to fill your own wants and needs. You spend more than you can easily afford to keep up with friends and neighbors which then wreaks havoc on your financial status. You spend time and money at the gym or on products that promise to defy the aging process. You join in on the local gossip about another person or event because you desperately want others to know you are knowledgeable with what's going on in the world, your town, your neighborhood or your family.
What if you simply stop trying to fit in? What kind of peace of mind would you be able to enjoy if you weren't constantly trying to be everything for everyone else and started being everything you need for you? Would you have more time for yourself and the people who are most important to you? Would you feel less obligated to show up the way others expect you to show up?
Can you do that? Or is your inner child still holding on to those feelings and beliefs about the importance of fitting in?
Have you been trying to fit in for so long that you don't know what true freedom feels like just to be you? Do you want to be able to share your dreams, thoughts and hopes without feeling judged by others? What would your life be like without being shackled to the demands of others?
You have the power to change your present day experiences when you learn to let go of past experiences that are still demanding your time, energy and focus.
Letting go does not mean giving up; letting go means giving yourself the freedom to show yourself and others who you are and what you're capable of. All this can be yours when you stop trying to fit in!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei