Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
If you’re searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror. Unknown
What a joy to wake up to another beautiful morning. I didn’t hear the rain last night but the ball diamond in the park is half covered in water so it must have been pretty hard.
Some areas are getting too much rain, some are getting too little. The garden and grass are lush and green, so are the weeds. Should I weed this evening or go to the gym? My front walk is being infringed on from both sides by lush vegetation. The grass that is growing in my little planting under our crabapple tree is tall enough to cut as hay.
Do these plants growing where we don’t want them to, feel when we pull them? They’ve exerted as much energy as the plants we want. They are growing where they were planted. That grass seeding is not exact is not their fault. If they were growing a few feet over I would leave them alone, except for being shaved by the lawn mower that is.
Do we sometimes feel like these grass stalks? We are growing, thriving but we don’t quite fit in.
Brene Brown writes, “In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order for them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely – it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are – love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.
Many of us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted. (Take it from me: I’m an expert fitter-inner!) But we’re not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking.”
Brene tells us we need to be okay with who we are, our gifts, our shortcomings, our weaknesses, and our strengths. We need to be willing to be the unique individual that we are. Maybe we feel we haven’t achieved enough, or maybe we’ve achieved too much to fit in. What is fitting in? Fitting in seems like pretending, becoming “Me too.” Instead of having our own interests, talents, goals, we do what we think is acceptable.
Don’t let anyone make you be who you aren’t. Stay true to yourself at all times. Even when it’s not trendy. Unknown
I remember going for a job interview and being asked what my interests were. One of my answers was writing, and I was told, “don’t mention that.” Why are we being asked what our interests are if they don’t really want to know? What was the accepted answer? I still don’t know what kind of interests I was supposed to have to be a suitable employee. I can’t remember if I got that job, only that my interests weren’t acceptable.
Maybe part of our growth and development is being okay with being different. We are all different. Maybe we need more people embracing their uniqueness instead of so many of us trying to fit in. Is fitting in a survival skill from long ago? Ostracism from the herd was death so conforming was required.
Sometimes we will need to stand alone, other times we will need to stand together. We need to be okay in both instances. Some of the worst things have been done because no one stood up to what was wrong. We can’t wait for someone else to stand up to make a good society. We make a good society when we are each willing to stand up for what is right, and good. We may be part of a chorus or a lone voice in the wilderness. Our contribution is to be our best selves, embracing who we are, not pretending to be someone we are not by fitting in.
If we are going to live lives true to ourselves we will have to stand up for what we believe in. We must do things as our heart bids us, we must walk to the beat of our own drummer. Will we be willing to stand for some things and against others? Can we be okay with people disapproving of us because the other option is turning our self into a pretzel trying to figure out whom to be for each person we meet?
We can’t please all the people, all the time. It is better to make peace with who we are, stand up for what we believe in, pursue our dreams, and live our life on our terms. It’s the only life we have, we need to make it count. The only corner of the universe we can improve is our self. Are we vulnerable and comfortable with being uncomfortable, and dealing with people without sacrificing who we are and what we value? Do we have the courage to be ourselves and make connections with others without conforming or asking them to conform?
This above all: to thine own self be true. Shakespeare
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