This is a short write up on what it feels like to stand out and be different, while believing in yourself. At times we may feel lonely when pursuing our own goals. Believing in yourself can make you feel isolated from others, but only we know how hard the journey is, and how to achieve success for ourselves is worth discovering.
What is it about the need to fit in?
We live in a society where we are either one and all, or identified by being associated with a group. Think back to where you came from as a child growing up, how did you fit in? Whether in a community of athletes, a group of artists, or even just friends kicking around in the sandlot, we identified ourselves with where we want to belong. As we get older and wiser, our interests grow. We either branch out to other communities, or we leave one nest for another. And the cycle continues. Through all this, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when we do fall. Metaphorically it serves as a reminder that even at our low, we find a way to stay close to where our interest lies. Our interest is the center of the way we think and that is what keeps us driving forward. It appears that the need to fit in is synonymous with keeping our engines oiled. By fitting in with the crowd, we feel that we can advance in life.
How does standing out, casts us out?
In a community, we feed off the need to please others to gain their rapport. A collection of brownie points to get us to feel supported and lifted to the next level. When we see that we are likable to a group of people in which we want to belong, we feel that we have to blend in to keep us in their good graces. Even in times that what the group decides to do doesn’t feel great, we feel we must not diverge ourselves from the pack or suffer the consequence of being alienated. The fear is that to stand out, we begin to lose support and protection. Standing out from the group causes insecurity, and in more ways than just one. It can cause insecurity in ourselves because we start to wonder if the group we are standing apart from is judging us behind our back. Additionally, it can cause insecurity and discomfort in the group because they may feel they have to accommodate or prepare for conflicting responses with the stand out. Overall, standing out creates a rift throughout the community. It can be just a single wave that everyone just wades through, or it can be start of rougher things to come.
Is it OK to be different?
Yes! To be different, I believe that is how you learn to focus on yourself. To truly grow into your own being and find your own path. In school we were always taught to learn the curriculum. It keeps us in between the lanes so that we all learn the same skills. Being different takes what you learn and you creatively advance it on your own. It is the story you create. The break through (or the break out) of the common mindset that we were all taught to go through. Different doesn’t have to be careless. We all have similar tastes, but to be different is take hold of something common and tell the story through your own mind, body, and spirit.
What does it look like to believe in yourself?
When we feel like being different is causing a rift in our environment, just know that we are not alone. It can be lonely at times because it appears that we are losing connections with people around us—even from people we care deeply about. To believe in yourself is to remain confident in your own ability and worth. Where you carry yourself, your value goes along with you. In any environment, in any community—old or new, your value is determined but how it is determined by you. Because of this, you keep your head high, even when you feel you are standing alone. Believing in yourself you learn to accept that at the end of the day, you are your own greatest asset and no matter what others say about you, you learn to remain strong at our core. In other words, you know who you are at the foundation and no matter what that will always be secure. That leads to any feedback you may receive from the outside, you learn how to take it how you want to take it to improve yourself.
How it’s hard to believe in yourself?
It is hard to believe in yourself at times when it feels you are doing it and feeling alone or cast out. Sometimes that loneliness supersedes the need to take care of yourself above others. As humans, we have a need at times to be self-less, and to feel like we are giving ourselves for the greater good of others. When we believe in ourselves and look to focus on our own improvement, it can look like we are being selfish. It may cause a rift in our relationship with others where we start to feel isolated from the group. The need to please returns and we feel if do it all our own way it’ll be wrong. But then by going back to please others we will start to feel that we are letting ourselves down, and this then becomes a catch-22. No matter who you try to please, there will always be disappointments.
How to believe in yourself?
The idea is to find balance. You can still reach all of your goals, and still inspire others to do the same. I like to live by the idea that you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first. Believing in yourself is a power that keeps yourself strong and able to persevere through the darkest times. It can also bring inspiration to others in need. For me, I make it a job to work on myself. Where my faults lie, I take feedback openly from others and try to negotiate how I can be better while still focusing on my own life. I only know best what I am capable of and how to survive. But I know that without the help from others, I wouldn’t survive for long. As humans we can be wholly independent, but we don’t truly realize the power of others. Sometimes I have to accept that I won’t always be liked. I have to remind myself that it always the quality of others, not the quantity, that proves our worth.
In the end, focus on what brings you constant improvement. Take feedback liberally, but understand that not everyone can have your best interest in mind—that is for yourself to determine. Remember to speak up and take action for yourself. Having belief is not a one time mindset, it’s something that you carry and improve every day in your life.