That sounds like a bit of a riddle, but I am happier now I stopped trying to be someone I am not!
So what do I mean?
I don’t think I have ever truly fitted in. I have never been one of the in crowd; I have never been popular or had very many true friends, and, I spent my life trying to be all of those things and failing over and over.
I was always or always felt like I was on the outside of the crowd looking in.
And it has only been in the last 5 or 6 years that I have stopped worrying about it and that is down to finding out more about myself and being comfortable with who I am.
I am not sure why, but we all seem to be programmed to want to fit in, to be liked and to have friends and best friends, and it is not surprising when TV & Films fill our heads with the belief that in order to be happy, we have to be surrounded by friends.
And of course it is nice to have friends, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t change who we are in order to fit in with societies idea of what is acceptable!
It is not only during school that I have tried and failed to fit in, even during the first decade of the 2000s I was desperately trying and failing to fit in. Being in situations where I am smiling and laughing during conversations or trying to fit in with a certain group of people.
Yes that is me in the photo above, and I remember what I was doing when it was taken.
I had been serving as a Pastoral Assistant in a Roman Catholic Church, it was both a happy time and a time filled with sadness, it was one of my favourite roles and yet one of the hardest and this photo was taken during my last duty as Pastoral Assistant when I baptised a work colleagues baby.
My ministry was difficult for a few reasons, one of them was that having ME and dodgy knees meant that it was physically and mentally challenging, I often did too much ignoring my health and making myself unwell.
But I pushed on because I enjoyed what I was doing, and I felt that what I was doing had meaning!
It was also a time of sadness and very hard because of people around me, and they weren’t my people, I wasn’t being the real me because I wanted to be accepted and what I couldn’t see is that I wouldn’t be fully accepted because they weren’t my kind of people, they weren’t my tribe.
What I also didn’t see until many years later is that I was failing because there was one person who I trusted, and yet they weren’t trustworthy. They were as they say ‘sticking a spanner in the works’, they didn’t like the fact that I was in this role, and so they whispered in certain ears and those whispers were malicious.
Had I been the real me, I would have politely (or not) told them what I thought.
Too often we find ourselves in the company of people who when they talk, we really want to just blurt out “shut the fuck up”!
My advice is;
- Don’t change who you are to fit in with others
- Find your tribe
- Always be honest
- Be kind
- Trust your gut when it tells you a person/people or a situation is wrong
- Let people see the real you
- Learn to accept the real you
It has taken me 5 decades to finally be happy with who I am and be who I really am, and I wish that I had managed it sooner. I would have been a lot happier through my life if I had been the real me sooner and stopped trying to fit in and please the wrong people.