Be who you are, no matter the cost.

We are so busy trying to fit in that we fail to stand out. When there is a fantastic athlete, we will say something like, “she really stands out.” It’s a way of saying that the athlete is better than her peers, that she stands out among the crowd as someone with exceptional talents and gifts. So why do we spend so much time trying to fit in and be like everyone else?

There are some humanistic reasons for this; we need to belong to a tribe because if we don’t, it could mean death. (Of course, today, we no longer face probable death if we get kicked out of the tribe because we no longer live in the wilderness and therefore don’t need a tribe to protect and provide for us in that way.) We also desire a tribe because it gives us a sense of worth and value, provides us with a sense of belonging, and keeps us emotionally safe.

The problem with working hard to fit in is that we lose ourselves in the process. You are a unique individual with values, strengths, and qualities that no one else has. When you ignore those, you create what is known as dissonance, and that can cause some significant mental, emotional, and even physical harm. When there is internal dissonance, our body releases stress hormones because it doesn’t like not being you. You are doing something that doesn’t align with your inner compass.

These stressors, if listened to, can help us realize we are not being true to ourselves. We are making choices that pull us away from our most authentic selves, which prevents us from realizing our full potential. The world is full of these types of people, and they have their heads down doing what is required of them while disliking life. It is so sad.

When we work as hard as we do at being other people to fit in, we lose the ability to learn about and understand our gifts and talents. Why is that important? We are made for a purpose, which can only be done by the person to whom it was assigned. No one can live your life. No one sees the world as you do. No one does things the way you do them. That means there is only one of you, and you are unique and wonderfully made.

When we grasp this idea, it gives us the freedom to live genuinely.

My challenge is to take time to reflect on who you are and what you stand for, understand your values, and get to know your worldview. When you have done that, ask yourself if you are being true to this or trying to fit into someone else’s view of the world? What can you do if the latter is true to get back to your true north? How can you really be you?