Fitting In

“Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are a wonderful person.” Ann Landers

Remember the show Cheers? Where everybody knows your name? I think that show touched a chord with people because there is this inbred need we have to fit in somewhere. The social aspect of belonging is huge.

Kids show this in wanting to belong to a club, a team, some organization, or just be part of the group of “cool kids.” Young people show it by joining a band, a political group, a frat, a sorority, etc. Churches and the military are filled with people looking for somewhere to fit in.

Here is what I have found:

  • It is common for everyone to want to fit it somewhere. If you are different than most then you have to consider the fact that you were born to stand out. That is not a bad thing (being different). In marketing it is the differences that give you the edge. In my opinion, we were all born to stand out. We put too much emphasis on fitting in instead of celebrating our uniqueness and using that to our advantage.
  • Knowing yourself is the key. If you have a healthy self-awareness you can deal with the fear and insecurity that comes from not fitting in. What other people say and think takes second place to what you know to be true…if you believe in yourself. What YOU believe matters. “What other people think is none of your business.” Regina Britt
  • Kids are vulnerable to the pressures of fitting in. They need to be affirmed in who they are and encouraged to be themselves. Yes, everyone needs to be able to socialize, but I am talking about those kids who will do virtually anything to fit in with a group, including compromising their morals, safety, and common sense. The world is full of people desperate to fit it somewhere, and there are countless groups who prey on them…gangs, human traffickers, predators, etc.

In a world where conformity is rewarded, I am encouraging us to just be who God created us to be. Allow yourself and others to have their quirks. We all have them. Some of us are just quirkier than others. I am reminded of this every day when I look in the mirror. LOL.

Hollywood has had some great movies about misfits over the years, but because I love westerns, there are a couple of movies that stand out in my memory: The Magnificent Seven. The group of seven men remained true to who they were, but came together to defend a helpless town; and who can forget Gary Cooper in High Noon? He did not fit in as sheriff of the town and yet stood up to the bad guys when everyone else ran like cockroaches in the light. He never did fit in, and yet was a hero to all in the end.

I hope you know yourself well, and that you do your part to not just conform…but to stand out…and help others do the same. We all have unique abilities. We just have to be willing to let them bloom and not worry so much about what other people think or say. Cheers to you as you march to the beat of a different drummer.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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