Have you ever noticed how easy it is to just fit-in, instead of standing out? To blend in and not be the odd one out. Yet Dr Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geise) had this to say “You have to be odd to be number one”. Meaning that you have to be different from the rest if you are going to stand out and be the best. Yet a lot of people spend so much time trying to fit in often at the cost of compromising their standards and core values just so that they can be accepted. I have experienced the pressure of trying to fit in, and every time I was left with so much self-doubt and in some cases questioning my self-worth.
When it comes to relationships there is always a need for balance. The moment you find yourself having to work so hard to fit in, then it means there is no balance, and you need to reassess that relationship. If others dont accept you for who you are, then that is a clear indication you may not be in the best of relationships. Your core values and beliefs define you as an individual and should therefore never be compromised just to please someone else. This desire to fit in is one of the reasons why most teenagers suffer from so much peer pressure. By definition, peer pressure is “the strong influence of a group, especially of children, on members of that group to behave as everyone else does” (Cambridge Dictionary).
Peer pressure reminds me of my teenage years; I recall the struggles I went through just trying to fit in. At that stage in myself, it felt so important to fit in and to be part of certain things or groups. I always felt the pressure to move with the trends like everyone else be it issues to do with dressing, friends or future career choices. Yet now when I reflect, I can honestly admit that the majority of the staff was unnecessary because life moves on and things change. Once back in the day in my high school years having a DSTV was something to talk about yet today its a different story, most people can easily access it.
As I matured, I learnt that it is ok to be unique and be the odd one out. Sometimes being unique does not mean you are the best, but rather you are choosing to be true to who you are. It means acknowledging that those that are not willing to accept you for who you are with all your perfections and flaws then maybe they are not intended to be in your life.
In a sport like a football, for example, you have defenders, strikers, mid-fielders and the goalkeeper. If for whatever reason during a match all the strikers suddenly decided to play like the defenders, then it means that no one is going to score the goals. The best that the team can get is draw if not a loss depending on the strategy implemented by the opposing team. The strength and success of the group is dependant on how well each team member plays.
Therefore, in the same manner, do not be afraid or apologize for being the best that you can be. Be confident and proud of who you are, in every situation, put your best foot forward and keep going. God gave you gifts unique to you in some way so that you can use them and not sit on them. Allow others around you to shine by choosing to stand out and be yourself.
An author named Marianne Williamson said it ideally in her book titled A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. She says;
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
The pressure to fit-in can easily blind you to the bigger picture in front of you if you are not careful. Choose not to define yourself according to what is happening around you today instead look at where you want to be tomorrow and press towards your goals. You can never stand out if you are always trying to be like someone else, the best you can ever be is a perfect copy of that person but never better than them. You are not competing against the next person when it comes to living your life. The competition is between who you are today and whom you want to be tomorrow. Every day choose to be better than who you were yesterday and continue to aim higher.
*Remember it’s not just about standing out, but rather standing out for the right reasons too*