About Fitting In And The Need To Belong


Fitting in is probably the single most frequent thing on our minds. Whether we admit it or not, we are constantly thinking about how others think of us if we were to say or do a certain something. Would they approve of it? How am I portraying myself if I actually meant to do that? Would they think I’m strange and not want to be around me?

The likely result to that question is that we end up saying or doing what we think is acceptable to the norm. The choices we make in our speech and actions is potentially determined by how others would receive. The need to feel accepted (not only by one but many) is something all of us yearn for. We long to fit in and belong because the fear of rejection and becoming an outcast is probably too much for one person to handle.

So we do what we think people want to see of us or simply just do what others do. It’s easier to relate to them and it’s easier to roll with the crowd. After all, it is not a bad thing to be accepted and go with the herd.

But sometimes at points of our lives we don’t always agree with the herd. Personally, there could be some things that we deviate from the norm. But the voice of rejection and the thought of being side-lined seemed too daunting, so we choose to stay within the herd. Wanting to be included and accepted is not wrong, in fact it is necessary because constant rejection is a lonely place to be and no one should need to feel that way.

Perhaps what is amiss here is that we might be too busy trying to figure out what the world likes and what the herd wants to see. We then fit ourselves into that mould. Perhaps from time to time, we forget to look within and discover who we truly want to be because we are too afraid of not belonging. Being too different can be seen as strange and uncool, so why subject ourselves to that.

In the midst of trying to fit into the illusion of what society likes or wants, we might have missed out on giving ourselves the chance to discover who we truly want to be. We don’t take the trouble to find out what we should truly value in this lifetime. We often fit into the crowd and then feel the illusion of acceptance and then justify our actions. But truly, how many of us can really say we are happy with the way we are even when we are accepted? Not all the time. At some point, we would find someone else different from us, we coax them to being like us and make them feel that they’re the outcast just because they like different things from us. And this happens vice versa.

My friend and I concluded in this theory – the reason people don’t take the trouble to find out who they want to be and is brave enough to do that is because it takes work. Being different takes work because you get questioned, honesty takes courage because vulnerability is a scary thing. So it’s easier to follow the masses so that you get accepted by the crowd. When become quite unnoticed, we are screaming to be noticed and stand out because we think we have more to offer. So we are compelled to say all the things we think people want to hear to impress them but do nothing to achieve anything that was said.

Perhaps the reward here is not fitting in to what the world wants you to be. Who ever said that the world wanted you to be anything that you do not want to be anyway? Perhaps the reward is finding out who you are, who you want to be and be acknowledged for that person you have become. The confidence and assurance of yourself should be the ultimate outcome in all of this, and if in all humility you are okay with that person, then the objective of needing to belong to a crowd is no longer important. It is definitely a difficult thing to figure out who you are and who you want to be because it takes time and effort to constantly think, work on your personality, develop habits and be disciplined. It takes courage to embrace that person because you may discover things about you that you may not like.

This is not saying “who cares about the rest of the world, I like who I am so everyone else will just have to live with it”. But this is about it being harder to smile and say “No thanks, it’s not my thing” and then explain to people the “whys”. However, it is definitely rewarding enough to finally one day be known by others that say “Yeah, it’s not his/her thing” and know that they still accept you for who you are.

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