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Why You Should Stop Trying To Fit In – Start Standing Out!

Do you feel as if you don’t ‘fit in’?

Have you ever felt as if you were the odd one out?

I recall feeling like this for most of my teenage years, as many do.

I remember looking at the ‘popular kids’ in school wondering what they had, that I was missing.

I’d look at others with ‘best friends’ walking through the corridors arm in arm with perfectly applied make-up and sun-kissed hair.

I was fortunate to have many friends, (who like me hadn’t quite mastered the skill of applying eyeliner either) yet I still often felt an ‘outsider’ who didn’t really belong.

This feeling continued throughout my first few months at university.

Another group of ‘popular’ students made themselves known. Trying to fit in I did what they did.

We studied hard but partied harder.

I went through all of the motions to ‘fit in’ and to an observer it may appear that I did, but deep within I felt as if I was living the life of another.

Suppressing these feelings took its toll and the pain became too great.

An argument with my room-mate gave me the excuse to walk away and never return.

Looking back I recognise that stepping out of university was the moment that I stopped trying to fit in because I’d discovered that trying to fit in greatly compromised my happiness.

You may be familiar with these feelings.

Our need to belong and fit in is strong and has its roots in evolution.

In order for our ancestors to reproduce and survive it was essential that social bonds were established, (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).

We are still driven by this same need and without belonging we experience substantial emotional pain.

The drive to belong and ‘fit in’ is undeniably powerful and can affect our decision making, sometimes to our own personal detriment.

Our drive to fit-in can cause us to:

  • Make decisions incongruent with our values.
  • Keep us in unfulfilling jobs (we feel it’s better to belong to a group than to risk going it alone).
  • Stay in relationships that cause us harm.
  • Lead a life influenced by others.

We need to feel that we ‘belong’ for sure. We need to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

But we shouldn’t suppress our dreams our desires by trying to ‘fit-in’ because this stops us really belonging where we deserve to be.

Stepping out of university I stopped trying to fit-in which allowed me to find where I really did belong.

Simply saying “I’m not doing this anymore” was the first step. If my words resonate with you, then you can say this too.

To help you say these words, I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions to connect with your truth:

  • What am I losing as a result of trying to fit-in?
  • What will happen if I don’t stop trying to fit-in?
  • What could I gain if I stopped trying to fit-in?
  • How would this positively impact my life?
  • How would this positively impact others in my life?

Your answers may be the motivation that you need to say enough is enough. Your words may encourage you to step-up and step-out of an unfulfilling life and towards happiness.

And finally, I’d like to share with you one of my own biggest personal learnings: I’d discovered that we were never, ever meant to fit in but stand out.

Each of us is a beautifully unique individual possessing beautiful gifts within.

Trying to fit in we lose our beauty and we don’t get to share our gifts with the world.

The people that don’t fit in are the people that change the world.

The people that don’t follow the crowd end up leading the crowd.

The odd-balls are the change-makers.

The misfits are life changers.

Never worry about not fitting in.

Be concerned with not standing out!

Belonging can be detrimental.

We need to feel as if we belong to social groups. Constantly trying to ‘fit in’ however leads to unhappiness.

We live our lives based on the expectations of others and ignore our own true desires. Deep down we may know this but refuse to admit our truth.

If we constantly refuse to admit our truth then we live a life with regret.

I don’t want you to live a life with regret.

I certainly don’t want you to look back at the end of your life and say, “I wish I had….

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