I have grown accustomed to my uniqueness. It has taken many years to actually embrace and see the beauty of my individuality. But every now and then the desire to simply want to fit in effortlessly with the majority still emerges from time to time. Like a switch I wish to trade in my difference for the sake of being common and socially acceptable…
Ever heard the term “I feel alone even in a room full of people”? I have actually spent most of my years with this sentiment. I was never the life of the party and often felt awkward trying to fit in when I am forced to. In school, at parties, during gatherings and even sometimes at church. I don’t stand out and people are not naturally drawn to me. I am often overlooked and not the initial choice of most in social settings. It’s like I am invisible. I sometimes wonder what people see when they look at me. Those who venture to get to know me typically find themselves pleasantly surprised, but it won’t happen the first time around….
This by no means bothers me as a mature adult as it once haunted me daily as a youth. I have found a sense of peace through God that there is nothing wrong with me for he has assured that I am wonderfully made. I do know this for sure and am confident in the skin I’m in. I have even discovered advantages to my personality type; it is full of creativity! I am an intense thinker and when I channel those moments that are out of my control of wanting to be excepted, I tap into the gifts that my Heavenly Father has graced upon me. That always works…
Never-the-less in this world in order to reach certain statuses an art of communicating, mingling and winning over people must be developed in order to advance in certain areas. I have learned and trained myself with much force and effort to deny my introverted comfort zone for the sake of getting ahead in education, business and other areas where people skills are essential. As awkward as it has been at times over the years I kind of find it funny when I consider some of those moments where my attempts have failed. My efforts of altering my personality may have come across as disengenuine, trying too hard or just down right weird! Yet no matter how many times I failed at it, I always tried again. For the natural loner, The art can be perfected once you get out of your own head! For the few who have dared to get to really know me will read this and find these words none applicable to my persona. That is only because they have given the person I really am a chance. I’m thankful for those few.
Forcing yourself to be someone you are naturally not is terribly exhausting at times. I can put on the facade for a while then after that I must stop the act and retreat before the real me shows up. Talk about weird!! As I pen these words I am out of town on a company trip. Business meetings by day and group dinners by night with corporate lawyers, paralegals, compliance officers and big time executives. The conference room is crowded yet I feel alone but am supposedly “One of them”. That is only true in title but not theory. I don’t fit in! Trying to mingle during breaks feels forced, awkward and down right uncomfortable. I must try because my boss and boss’s boss are watching. I gauge in succeeding at holding small talk with a few in short spurts but that’s about it. My efforts will have to be good enough. It’s all I can do for I’m not holding any one person’s attention long enough for them to want or come back for more.
Dinner time comes and the business facade continues. Instead of wondering why I can’t fit in which I have been doing for hours I look around at others and find I am not the only one. There are several struggling to engage in conversation they can hold continuously with others. In this uncomfortable reality I feel comfort that I am really not alone in the struggle.
Can you relate to this? I think every one in life has had a similar moment. For some it’s a way of existence. In your singled-outness the next time you find yourself in a crowd but feel alone, instead of getting down about why you don’t fit in and you can’t leave, mentally escape to that place that stirs your creativity. Take a note or capture a thought and hold it until you can get back to your comfort zone to expand on it. If that does not work, look around the room more closely. Everybody there IS NOT as comfortable as they may pretend to be. I guarantee you will find at least one other person either struggling to fit in or has given up all together by sitting alone playing on their cell phone.
Social acceptance is necessary but should not be burdensome. If you are a loner don’t be jealous of another who appears to be a people magnet. That’s their gift. Re-Channel that energy and find out what you have to offer. Endure the odd moments; for we all must. They will come and go. But most importantly know you are not as weird as you think you are. You’re really not! For it is written, You too are fearfully and Wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)