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The Risk Of Fitting In

The biggest risk in trying to “fit in” might be that you’ll succeed for a while.

A peculiar side effect of that is that you feel like you’ve sold your soul.

Ouch.

I’m 42 as I write this. And I haven’t always been all that good at fitting in. I’ve certainly tried a few times… for years at a time, even.

What happens when I try is that I find myself forcing to conform to the expectations of people close to me.

“Look more like this.”

“Sound more like that.”

“Pretend you’re interested in this and that.”

Pretending is a good survival skill, in the short term.

Playing dead, or freezing, is one of our innate strategies for avoiding death.

And yet, what happens when we play dead every day?

Now, we don’t all have the luxury of picking and choosing our ‘what.’

The harsh and cruel reality of life is that we have to adapt to it and not the other way around.

Sometimes, we have to do things we’d rather not.

The key shift seems to be in how we choose to show up.

I know that I can show up for washing my own dishes with a sense of obligation, feeling like I’m wasting time and trying to get it over with as quickly as possible… or I can say, “This is my mission now. I will wash these dishes with care.”

That might sound like hippie B.S.

I used to think that.

And what happened was that life felt like it lacked deeper meaning, and I didn’t feel a sense of connection with everything I did. I was always looking for “something else.”

After 42 years, after living through some tough moments that broke me into pieces (and having to get up and put the pieces back together again), I can say that it’s okay to buy into meaning and even create meaning where doesn’t seem to be any.

The alternative is a sense of hopelessness, of detachment and self-serving aimlessness. It’s a sense of unease with life as we know it. It drives us into our phones and computers and iPads and away from the actual world.

I don’t want to end on that image. That feels too dark. I want to wrap this post up with light, because I feel that there is hope.

Accepting meaning into our lives is a choice. It’s a conscious decision that we get to make every single day, and it might be one off the most important decisions we make. Even more important than trying to be happy.

May peace and love be with you.

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