Just in from a lovely walk with the dogs where I got to thinking about ‘fitting in’.
I met a friend whilst out who has lost a lot of weight (you should never say you want to lose weight or you will look to find it subconsciously at some point later) and how she loved buying clothes now. That got me thinking about how my eldest son has changed his outward appearance over the last few years – thankfully!
Gone is his daily tracksuit attire and in are jeans and jumpers. It may be an age thing – but then I see men of all ages wearing tracksuits and they are almost certainly not going to the gym. Saying that – they are entitled to wear what they want to wear.
When I thought about his change I have to look at his closest friend – who is Spanish and always dresses well. Perhaps he has been the influence on my son’s change of wardrobe. Yes he still wears joggers but more so now for the gym.
But what drives our sense of style? What drives our need for success? What forces us to be someone who follows the crowd?
When I look at most of the young girls today they all look pretty similar to me. Long straight hair and similar attire. I suppose I was no different in my teens – though very different in my early twenties.
Man is driven by the need to ‘fit in’. To be like everyone else in order to survive. We generally like people who are like ourselves and tend to accept these people readily into our inner circle.
Our need to feel loved and accepted is high. When we feel rejected we feel bad and looking different brings with it a higher level of rejection, as does having different view points, being passionate about something, or speaking out.
So many just plod along, being like everyone else. Striving for recognition from friends and colleagues or even the man in the street. Buying the latest trend, the best car, loving what everyone else loves in the desperate need to feel ‘the same’ to feel included and accepted.
Thousands of years ago to be in a community meant safety and survival. You were more likely to survive if there were many of you watching out for wild animals and hunting for food and this need to be part of a community has stayed with us, not through a real need to survive, but an imagined need to fit in and be accepted in order to ‘survive’.
In order for us to survive today, we have to be accepted, successful, admired by others, and indeed, be the same as the others. Yet do we? A child in order to survive needs a mother and in order to thrive needs a mother’s love. However there is no greater love than self love and if you love and accept yourself, you are less needy of external verification. You know you matter and you don’t need others to verify this.
Rejection is hard and each and everyone of us will know this, however rejection of the self is more destructive. When we live up to others standards and follow their lead, we may seem to fit in, but do we really feel happy?
Rejection of the self is damaging on an emotional, mental and physical level. It can destroy our confidence and self worth. When we begin to accept ourselves for the individuals we are we become happier, more successful (and I am not relating to work success or financial success only here but emotional, relationship etc too), more at peace with ourselves.
So next time someone tells you to watch what you say when you express an opinion, be glad that you had the guts to express it and not bad that it wasn’t the same as theirs. When anyone laughs at your new hair cut – love it more! If someone judges you by the clothes you wear then be glad that you have the money to buy clothes!
But most of all, understand those that judge you for being different, for they truly haven’t found the strength to be themselves. They haven’t the voice to shout out ‘this is me’. They haven’t learnt the power of self love and acceptance.
Be unique. Be true to yourself, Be you.