I’ve never really “fit in”. Looking back over my life, I’m wondering at this point what “fitting in” actually means and why NOT fitting in should be something we are ashamed of or concerned with? I will admit however that sometimes I will find myself feeling a bit insecure when introduced to a different social circle, or God forbid – a tight knit group of other moms that you have to engage with after signing up your kid for a new class/athletic group/camp/school, etc. It’s that feeling you might be familiar with – an instant pressure of, “Hmmmmm, how is this going to work because I don’t exactly “fit in” with this group and what or how do I need to do/say and/or behave to feel accepted?”
At this point in my life, I really am overall ok with not fitting in. I’m not the “average mom” (whatever that means). I’m not the typical almost 40-year-old woman (whatever that means). I’m really not anything but who I am and I don’t know how to be anything else. So although “fitting in” doesn’t keep me up at night or deter me from doing things outside of my comfort bubble, I don’t like that I think about it every now and then, or feel uncomfortable when I probably don’t need to. Furthermore, I know other folks who really have a hard time wanting to fit in, and not ever really feeling like they do, but when I see these people I just see PEOPLE. Awesome people. Unique people. Noteworthy, lovely, inspiring REAL people. Lastly and most importantly – I really really really don’t want my kids to go through life feeling the pressure to always fit in. So many kids struggle with wanting to conform to society’s ideas of how they should be to the point of depression OR to the tune of making choices that aren’t always the healthiest in order to “fit in” to any crowd that might take them.
I want my kids to thrive on being exactly who they are and to shine bright and proud and loud, wrapped up in their own great uniqueness! I want them to be ok with Fitting Out!
With that being said, let’s examine this whole notion of “fitting in” a bit further. What exactly does it mean to fit in? Does it mean you easily blend into a crowd? Does it imply that you are similar enough to everyone else to not cause any unnecessary attention? According to the dictionary: to “fit in” literally means: to be accepted by other people in a group.
Ok, hold up, stop the truck, back it up, rewind – why in goodness gracious name would I WANT to live my life based on other people’s standards of acceptance??? What has conforming, for the essential purpose of not feeling a bit uncomfortable, ever really done to help anyone in the long run?? What amazing, life changing, profound, thought provoking, earth shattering person have you heard of, admired, or known personally that simply went through life “fitting in”??
Here’s a short list of folks who come to mind that inspire me that didn’t worry one tiny bit about fitting in and in turn have either created massive change, inspired others, or have had a positive or uplifting impact in general.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Joan of Arc
- Albert Einstein
- Rosa Parks
- Mother Teresa
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Princess Diana
- Charles Darwin
- The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
- Susan B. Anthony
- Helen Keller
- Oprah Winfrey
- Muhammad Ali
- Mahatma Gandhi
- John Lennon
Can it be said that any of the above committed their lives to fitting in? Nope. Not a gosh darn one. In my not so humble opinion, when you decide to fit in, you decide to be ok with the norm, you decide to not stand up for what you know to be YOUR truth, and you decide to lose who you are to societies standards. If we all just decided to conform, equality would mean nothing to anyone but those who decided to “fit in”, and society would simply be a joke! Not to mention our health crisis. What if we all just chose to fit in when it came to the norm of how we should eat, drink, sleep, and LIVE?? The mere thought of eating a diet other than the Standard American Diet or the notion of turning to a holistic approach for healing rather than mainstream medical care for drugs would be absolutely unheard of!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you turn into an arrogant jerk and forget to use your manners or decide to not be friendly or be totally ego driven and suddenly a socially awkward guru know it all – I’m instead suggesting to dive into a life wearing a different hat. Not literally wearing a hat, unless you like hats, but what I mean is – decide to always wear your “I own this life, body, ideas, opinions, unique perspectives, and knowledge” hat and be ok with that! Channel the awesomeness of those who inspire you and who don’t worry about being the norm!
Being you and not fitting in just might help other people see that life is wayyyyy more than being part of the majority in order to not rock the boat. You can absolutely rock the boat and still be socially acceptable!! You can still be YOU and be kind, compassionate, loving, and yet forthright and unapologetic for being exactly who you are!!! This is also called leading by example, or making a new road, carving a different path, whatever you want to name it – it’s about honoring the unique soul that you are and not being afraid to share it. If we all stopped sharing our unique souls, all stopped changing, growing, learning, and speaking up when we feel like we should, if we all just slipped through life unnoticed and surrounded by the safety of fitting in, there would be very little positive change or purpose left in this crazy, upside down world.
I personally want to Fit Out because it’s important. I want to Fit Out because I want my children to understand that being compliant isn’t always the best choice. I want them to be unafraid and unashamed of who they are. I want my boys to choose happy over hushed and unique over ubiquitous. Unique gets you places. Unique lets YOU shine and when handled properly, unique can change the world. I personally want to show up for life, every single day, not matter how much that might make me Fit Out rather than Fit In! I remember my mom telling me to just smile when you feel like someone is judging you, making fun of you, or is unaccepting of you. A smile alone can change another person’s perspective. How can you decide to dislike someone for being different when they simply offer you a gentle smile? Fitting OUT instead of fitting IN can be as gentle as you accepting others for exactly as THEY are and not being quick to pass judgment or decide a situation is too hard to handle, or walk away from a social circle because you fear your own lack of fitting in. I know that I absolutely have missed out on some amazing opportunities by letting my insecurities about fitting in get in my way – but I’m over that now, and like I said, losing sleep over fitting in is decidedly not a part of my life anymore.
So cheers to fitting out! Let’s change the world, even if it’s with a smile. Let’s leave a mark by being uniquely who we are. Let’s unite in being different, weird, happy, present, mindful, accepting, joyful, healthy, and exactly who we are meant to be.
Let’s FIT OUT!