Trying to Fit In, When You Were Born to Stand Out
If you ask a teenager about the most challenging problem they face, chances are that they’d reply with issues of not being able to fit in. I too struggled with this during my first years of high school. Once I realized that I could only be myself since everyone else was taken, I was much happier. People may wonder why you’re not clinging to the status quo, but you’ll soon pride yourself in being yourself and being unique.
Adolescence is the precise period in life that calls for attention. You want the attention, you want to be liked by your peers, you want to be appreciated. For these purposes, you end up (consciously or unconsciously) experimenting with the way you look, dress, behave, etc.
This isn’t a bad thing at all. The best part of your teen years is that you get to explore yourself and lay the foundation of the kind of person you’d become one day. However, when you build your personality for the sole purpose of impressing others, it may be an issue.
There are a few ways you can overcome the fear of not fitting in, and be true to yourself so that the right kind of people will gravitate towards you.
Stop Trying So Hard
The biggest mistake teenagers make is trying to like things they don’t like just to appear cool in front of their peers. You may pretend to like football or celebrity gossip when in reality, you’d enjoy anything but that. Acting this way can make you confused about what your true identity. And since you aren’t your authentic self, the people who end up befriending you aren’t really your friends. Since they don’t even know the real you, they are just friends with the person you pretend to be. Read that again. It’s super important to realize!
So it is imperative that you learn what really makes you happy and what activities you enjoy. By being true to yourself, you’d be true to others. Hence, your social group would appreciate you for who you are.
Don’t Pay Attention to What Other People Think About You
There should be a few people in your life whose opinions should matter to you. Your parents, your close friends, relatives you are close to etc. However, anyone else’s opinions shouldn’t be a matter of your concern; even if they don’t like you. Unless you’ve done them some harm, in which case you should definitely apologize.
But besides that, if you spend your time worrying about what other people think of you, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy your life. As for the people who do matter, they won’t judge you unless they have a real good reason for it. And even then, they will criticize you to help you become a better person, not to make you feel bad.
Feeling left out is never fun. However, once you overcome your fear of it, you will be able to handle these feelings better and find the people who you truly enjoy spending time with instead of hanging out with people you are trying to impress.
Find the Right Friends
At one point, I realized that some of the friends I had were not people I wanted to be like. Even the Bible says, “Bad company ruins good morals”. And it's absolutely true! Watch out for the people that you're trying to become. When you look at your friends behavior, do you see someone you’d want to embody? If the answer is no, then it’s time to branch out and find new social groups. Once I stopped caring what people thought about me around the beginning of my sophomore year, I’ve never been so at peace. Your social circle might be smaller, but it's better to have real friends than a lot of fake ones.
There’s only one YOU in the world.
"Time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life." - Steve Jobs
Thanks for reading!
Until next week,