I wanted to fit in, I wanted so badly to be like all of my peers. “I have to have THIS outfit, I need to take that sport, I need to get invited to ‘that girls’ party”.
Those were just a few of the thoughts and conversations that I would have throughout childhood.
I have one distinct memory from elementary school, grade 4 that stands out to me, all surrounding this concept. A time when I wasn’t wanting to be different, I wanted anything BUT to be different. I wanted to blend in as much as humanly possible.
It was my second year at this new school and I remember being in class one day and we were doing some writing in our notebooks. Depending your generation, you may remember the pale pink, blue or yellow books that were half the size of a full-page notebook. There was a black emblem for Hilroy on the front cover and on the inside pages were half a page of white space and half a page of lines. Ahhh the memories!
I sat beside a lovely classmate, she was so sweet, kind and quiet. She was a great student and I absolutely admired her writing!!! It was DIFFERENT! It was UNIQUE! She had the smallest, precise printing and hand-writing I had ever seen! LOL. I couldn’t believe she could get so many words in one line! HA!
I thought it was so ‘cool’ that I would give it a shot… oh yes, I thought it would be cool to start writing the exact same way as her. And while I know I was just a kid and my level of reasoning of what was ‘cool’ was perhaps a bit skewed at the ripe age of 9 – it was still the best thing since sliced bread to me!
I attempted changing my writing style LOL and kept it up for a little while! …. not much later, I went back to my own way of writing. Boy did it ever take a lot of effort and unnatural ability to try and write like that!
And that’s just it, the more we try and be unlike ourselves and the same as everyone else, or trying to one up someone, the amount of added effort and energy that fuels into that can be EXHAUSTING!
Being different, setting yourself apart, honing in on unique talents and abilities is where its at!
And my grade 4 experience (one of many!) reminded me of how, at such a young age, there is such a strong pressure we put on ourselves and that comes from outside sources to want to fit in, to belong, to be accepted. We are human after all and it is in our innate nature to want to belong.
Its just at what cost, does wanting to belong for the wrong reasons take a turn.
Growing up in school and into my 20’s, I lived what now feels backwards to me. I lived a life I thought would bring acceptance and inclusion and yet the only person I wasn’t including was my TRUE self.
I was abandoning and disowning some of my best qualities. The things that made me who I am, that I am loved for and that I love about myself. Wanting to shrink and play small out of fear that I would not be accepted no longer works for me!!
I am grateful for all of the experiences that led me to where I am today. Without the experiences of trying to fit in and doing what I thought would seek a sense of belonging, I would not have had the opportunity to discover and journey down a path to tapping into what I do differently and what I can bring to the table that is like no other.
Going down the path of business ownership, I now see that all of the lessons were there to help me shed the shit that no longer served me, the stuff that wasn’t even mine, so that I could step into my truest self. This is my BIG dream, my vision for my company and my life’s purpose – to guide men and women back to a better understanding of who they are, at the core, and to embrace ALL of their authentic, genuine and unique talents and abilities to shine the brightest and be able to impact everyone that their light touches!