I was with a client today and fitting in was on the agenda.
She was explaining to me how she was struggling with not being able to talk to groups of people, most particularly on social media. She is in a lot of groups because she runs a business and has a number of different networks, and memberships. She explained that she knows that it would be good for her business to be more active, but that she finds the more she reads from others, the more weird and detached she feels from everyone else.
She continued to tell me that she tries every day to get out there and ‘speak’ but she is fearful. She has nothing original to say, she feels vulnerable and slightly dull. She used to feel like this in person, with actual people – you know, IRL! But this is the lesser of the problems now.
Feeling different / weird / alien to everyone else is not so uncommon as my client might think. In fact, most of the women I see tell me this in their own language.
When we are children, all we want is to fit in, be one of the gang, be like everybody else: and so liked. To stand out is a risk, to be noticed for being different for any reason is to be feared.
We look inwards at ourselves and all we notice is how different we are to all the others; I have weird hair, I can’t spell “go” or some other thing that others notice, point out, and people laugh. Hmm. They are laughing at me, it’s not funny, I feel really worried about it, but I join in the laughter as that’s what you do, isn’t it?
You see it’s easier to hide the feelings and not to let others know. And so we go on, throughout our lives, growing up with fears and anxieties that we are not alright, not normal and above all, we must not be found out and subsequently, some of us become ‘the joker’, self-deprecating, and a bit Jack Dee.
Then there comes times in our lives, like my client, where things are really challenging and difficult and anxieties and worries are growing a little out of control. Stress is bringing with it a lowering in mood and a slight paranoia about what others think about us. We feel the difference and the extremeness of not fitting in even more.
I don’t know about you, but when I am feeling on top of the world, quite brilliant and things are going well, I also feel different. I don’t fit in and it’s almost as if I’m the movie star in a film about my life – which I hope everyone is watching!!
I’m happy that I’m different, I’m unique and this makes me more interesting (or so I think!). I care less what others think because I’m free, completely free to just be me. And who doesn’t want to feel like this?!
So the key seems to be switching our state from the negative to positive – but how can we do that? Well, there a variety of things of course, there exists a wide variety of therapies for a start, and I don’t just mean talking. Massage, aromatherapy, healing: more than I even know about.
But one thing becomes exceedingly obvious to me as I move through my life and my journey is that whatever we are thinking, it’s only thoughts. ‘I feel different’, so what? You thought that 10 seconds ago? And what? ‘I don’t fit in’ – and? Where do you want to fit? It’s just a thought, and no sooner have you thought the thought it’s gone, into the past, it doesn’t exist any more. Only in your memory. So now what?
You could think it again? Go for it. Or you could go and do something else? Or talk to someone, or think something different.
I know that if you’re not feeling great, it can be really hard to do to stop yourself in your tracks, but what if you just did it anyway?
You are not broken. You are human, and sometimes, we humans get stuck in thinking. There is nothing lacking in you, you have everything you need to be you. And that is your best hope, surely?
The freedom to just be uniquely you.