The Cost of Fitting In | #MyFridayStory №243

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When you’re growing up, being part of the in-crowd seems all-important. To some, it’s imperative.

I grew up in a six-member family — we were four kids. My older Brother, two Sisters and me. As the last-born child with an 11-year spread between oldest and youngest, my siblings and Parents showered love on me. I had a royal passage to life. Loving people and a healthy environment shaped my character and identity. Being raised in such a loving environment, I was teed up for success.

It was safe to be yourself, to not have to put on appearances for anyone.

When I was in primary school, I once saw these older boys on the edge of the playground. They were lying under a tree with low hanging branches. A saw one of them smoking, and they called me over. They told me to come and lie under the tree with them. I remember the excitement of being asked and joining them. For the next few days at school, every break, I’d run to join my new friends under the tree.

They would send me to the tuck-shop to buy chips, sweets and cold drinks, with my money. I obliged and thought they had included me as one of their friends. One day, as I came running back to the tree from the tuck shop. I had an armful of treats. I heard them laughing and talking about me. When I knew they had been taking advantage of me, I felt devastated.

My desperate desire to fit in had screwed my judgement into believing I needed to be someone else.

I use LinkedIn as part of my business. I don’t class it as social media but rather as a business platform. Although I post to Facebook and Instagram, I rarely, go onto the platforms to consume content. Tik-Tok as a newer addition is finding traction across the age groups lately, no longer only a stage for dancing and singing. I happened onto Instagram a while ago and started scratching around to see what it’s like.

Within minutes of scrolling around, looking at some posts and profiles, I could sense the portrayal of a perfect life.

I’m in danger of being called an old fart — I’m not — and I’m not alone in my dismay. Scientists and researchers are saying the same thing. Are we desperately trying to fit in? Is that how we are raising our children? To believe they are not enough as the quirky, odd, weird, nerdy, beautiful souls that they are?

I was chatting to a Facebook and Instagram influencer with millions of followers. He told me something disturbing. For some time, he’s been bankrupt but continues posting images of a luxury lifestyle.

There’s a cost to fitting in. Sometimes, we feel awkward and want that feeling to go away. So, we change to try to fit in. That sacrifice in authenticity damages your character and your identity.

Rather stay weird.

Weird is simply another word for awesome.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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