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What Should I Do If I Feel Like I Don't Fit In?

Misbah has done her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has access to a wide range of mental health experts who treat mental illness.

A sense of belonging

A sense of belonging

What Should I Do if I Feel Like I Don't Fit in?

If I feel like I'm not fitting in, I think I should quit trying; this is a simple solution that comes to my mind, but why? It is because I don't need to present myself to places, people, and scenarios that are not my size. Celebrating my identity, my passions, and nurturing my self-esteem muscle every day should be my main goals.

Many of us spend a lot of our valuable energy trying to fit in, to be liked by others, to be a member of groups, and sometimes we even give up our own identity to feel a sense of belonging. In the majority of these circumstances, we frequently overlook a vital part of being 'special.'

However, one thing is evident to all of us: some people live in isolation because of the weight of stigma. As we are human beings, we are social creatures, very often, we feel like we should do much more than just engage with others. We also want to feel a part of something, a part of someone; we want a basic sense of belonging, stability, and those roots from which we may continue to grow in our personal project.

So, while we are sometimes told that it is important to strengthen our individuality, to empower the "magic" of being different, it is really just a matter of learning how to balance the scales. We are all plagued by the uncomfortable duality between 'who we are and what we have to show the world to be accepted.'

Accept and be proud of your flaws, after all, no one is perfect and if someone truly wants to be with you, they will accept them too.

— — Rashida Rowe

Therefore, well-being would start by not losing the essence and sense of self. The goal is to be accepted by people who are important to us, by beings capable of appreciating all that we are, with our quirks, magnificence, and even insecurities.

The jacaranda trees

The jacaranda trees

Some moments in our life appear to go against the grain when we are stateless from a scene where everyone seems to be delighted by the same music, while we are inspired by another. Perhaps we are like those amazing trees, the jacarandas, which bloom in a purple shade while the rest of the world only blooms in green.

And what if I'm struggling because I don't feel like I fit in? The most problematic aspect of all of this is that we are discussing suffering that is quite easy to date. Because the sense of not being integrated is often born in childhood.

So much so that it is customary to believe that something is wrong with us, that "blossoming" purple, as the tree pictured above does, is a bad thing. When, in truth, every one of us possesses unique characteristics that set us apart in the park of reality.



Bowen’s Concept of Life Forces

Dr. Murray Bowen gave the idea of life force theory in the 1950s by observing how people grow emotionally and naturally.

  • Bowen highlighted something very useful in his approach. According to his theory, there are two basic and opposing life forces in the human being at the same time.
  • The first one is a very strong force of growth that drives us toward individualism, where we may create a self apart from our family, friends, society, and so on.
  • The second is a tremendous force that drives us to seek and require emotional intimacy.
  • According to his theory, most of us live in this often unpleasant duality regularly. We feel very different because our sense of self strives to stand out from the crowd. However, we want to integrate, to be a part of the dynamics in which others move.

The “Stigma” of Not Being in Our Place

When I feel like I don't belong, I can't blame myself. Sometimes I can conclude by thinking that the world itself is meaningless.

According to the study conducted at the University of Michigan by two doctors named: Dr. Gregory Walton and Dr. Geoffrey M.Cohen, people who suffer from the "stigma" of exclusion, who is continually bothered by "uncertainty of belonging," experience a decline in motivation, academic and professional performance, and are more likely to suffer from some type of psychological disorder.

What Can I Do?

This concept of "I don't feel like I fit in" is frequently rooted in the family. Our schooling and the dynamic that comes from these micro-scenarios give us the sense of "not being normal" at a very young age. For example, we are not normal in our parents' eyes because we are not as intelligent as our brother.

So we emerged more rebellious because our interests, tastes, and passions do not align with the family project. As a result, we can carry this mark around for years, reducing our social skills, self-image, and identity. As a result, it is beneficial to reflect on these thoughts to enhance these dimensions and boost our sense of belonging.

Lost and Accepted

Lost and Accepted

Define Your Identity

One of the most intriguing contributions that Carl Jung left us is his idea of individuation. According to this approach, one of our most important responsibilities is the following: to awaken our potential, our consciousness, to overcome our fears and our resistances, and to represent ourselves in front of the world as we are with confidence and happiness.

It is very important to understand that it is highly preferable, and beneficial to "fit in with oneself" before "wanting to fit in with others." We need to encourage self-acceptance, which includes recognizing who we are and what we desire.

Any Rejection Causes Pain

We've all tried to push a jigsaw piece into a puzzle at some point. We quickly discover that using force is futile. Not when the forms don't match, and not when the holes don't match the edges.

We must recognize that, in truth, life is about flowing rather than fitting in. We will suffer if we try to achieve this by force, and we may even choose to give up part of our identity in order to find ourselves in the incorrect puzzle.

We have to understand that there will be individuals, places, and groups with whom we can connect and others with whom we simply cannot. Furthermore, in our quest to find a sense of belonging to someone, we might try a thousand different things until we discover our ideal environment.

Piece of Puzzle!

Piece of Puzzle!

Your “Tribe” Will Come To You

It's fine if we go on our path alone for a bit. We shall just appreciate each other on this journey. When we follow the rhythm of a specific passion or instinct, we sometimes end up finding our own "tribe"; a place where everything is in harmony, where we are loved and valued for every detail, for every unique corner.

To conclude, if I feel that I don't fit in, the first thing we can do is reduce this anxiety. Managing worries, refining insecurities, and shining our own sense of self and self-esteem muscle helps us be more successful.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

— Oscar Wilde

Bibliographic Reference:

Walton, G.M. & Cohen, G.L. (2007). A Question of Belonging: Social Adjustment and Achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92 (1), Pages: 82-96

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Misbah Sheikh