I’ve spent most of my life feeling like an outcast. Contradictory to knowing many, I don’t feel like I fit into a particular clique and rather flow in and out of different social circles through the years. There are times I’ve been envious of those who’ve had the same group of friends since childhood or middle school and wondered why I never had that. I’ve been the one who slowly starts to get distanced from and in some cases I’m never given a reason as to why it was me. Over time, I’ve learnt to realize how fascinating it is to never truly fit in. They say that certain lessons in life aren’t given to us on a platter and are those that we eventually figure out through our own realization. And this for sure is one of those! Every social group I was part of taught me a lesson and once that lesson was learnt, time and circumstances distanced me away from them. And years later, I realize how much I’ve evolved as a person and wouldn’t have done so if I stuck to any of those social circles. Our values, mindset and lifestyles ended up being completely different.
Outcasts or outliers are typically associated with being the weird ones or the ones who are always thinking or doing something completely out of the box; they never fit into the clique. At times, they are way ahead of our time so their opinions are never taken seriously or end up being dismissed since it doesn’t match the mindset of the rest of the clique.
We’ve been trained to find ways to shape ourselves into our cliques so that we never feel left out. Our generation is the most affected by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) because we focus so much of who we are based on the people around us. Our choices become influenced by choices that our peers make to assure we get a sense of belonging with them, which then leads to losing our unique identities over time. We wear what’s in trend, abide by lifestyle choices based on what's most common in society, follow social media trends to stay connected to the rest of the influencers, and agree with the most accepted opinions. However, when our life events don’t pan out similarly to those of our peers, we question our self-worth or if something is wrong with us and end up feeling like an outcast anyway. So why bother trying to fit in? I'd rather be the outcast that doesn't get stuck into any stereotypes, cliques or any sort of conformity.
If we develop the mindset to celebrate our individuality and our ‘out of the box’ thinking instead of moulding it to fit into our cliques or society, we wouldn’t feel the pressure of comparison or a forced sense of belonging with others. By sticking to our preferences, opinions and thoughts regardless of not being approved by others, we become so rooted in our own identity and start to care less of what others think of us or our choices. Isn’t this the #1 problem we have? How often have our fearful thoughts started or ended with “what will they think of us?” We live with the fear of what others think of us and the need for acceptance when the majority of people we rely on for validation are still trying to figure themselves out! Lol. We want the constant approval of people who change their mindsets as per their needs, which only lowers the value we have about ourselves. When we don't receive the approval we expect, we begin questioning ourselves instead of questioning why we need someone else’s approval to be the way we are.
On the other hand, if we’re more accepting of who we are, we become open to breaking out of belief systems and being okay with not following the crowd. Which then leads to not being stressed over timelines, not feeling the pressure to fit in and continuing to live life at our own pace. Over time, we become more open minded to understanding many perspectives without being influenced by any of them. We stay balanced in our core, regardless of how influential external factors might be. We begin to possess an ability to stand out from the crowd, naturally.
So if you’ve ever felt like an outcast, join the club :) We’re the ones who will continue to question what others choose to avoid, and say things way ahead of our time. We will never be afraid of the judgement or criticism of others since we’ve heard it all our lives! We flow through life like water, absorbing knowledge every where we go, gliding through the rough edges without getting stuck to one place and keep moving forward while standing our ground with our identity and cherishing those who keep us close to their hearts.
Loved this short animation film called "FLOAT" that I came across.
It conveys a beautiful message about inclusion and celebrating our unique abilities in a short time frame. Click on the image below to direct you to the YouTube video