I came across this blog piece from seventhvoice; People with Autism want real friends too. The blogger talks about how her daughter has to make extra effort to fit in with her friends but would like friends who would fit in with her or even just accept her for the way she is. This child has autism, situations many of us may find ‘normal’ can be exhausting and boring for her. Her current friends see the character she plays to fit in with this group, being herself could risk no longer having these friendships which are important to her.
The way the child in the article plays a character in order to fit in doesn’t akways change as we get older. Think about the different characters you play depending on the environment. An article published on HBR.org; Do You Really Want to Be Yourself at Work? discusses being yourself vs playing a work version of yourself. How many of us are truly comfortable enough to be ourselves at work and believe our true personalities are strong enough to forge a successful career?
‘I want people at work to think I’m better than I am; I don’t want them to see how I really am!’
Depending on the situation, with age many people can eventually become tired with having to play a role finally deciding, good or bad, to let their true self shine through.
Through experiences and society we’re taught about the importance of trying to fit in, fit in with people at school, at social gatherings, at work. If you don’t fit the mould then either you keep searching for where you do fit or fear being ignored.
‘Fitting in’ is not only exhausting but overrated. Society is so focused with trying to fit in, don’t rock the boat, don’t do anything that is considered a deviant from what is considered the norm is frowned upon with suspicion or disgust. It is almost like we’ve become programmed to not be accepting of others and to not see how the differences could actually make us better people.
It is not just as people we could improve with embracing a bit of ‘different’. How would a business grow if they kept hiring the same people with the same views and opinions? Having someone with a different perspective could bring a new lease of live a business and take it to the next level.
Through campaigns and the media we are being made more aware about mental illnesses and how suffers are affected by it. The importance to not ostracise or look at them as if they have some kind of disease but to show support and kindness. Whether we like it or not we all have some kind of defect, some just need a little bit of extra help now and then.
Those who do feel socially awkward doesn’t mean they don’t want to have others to talk to in those rare moments where they feel comfortable around others / situation. It’s about taking the time to understand others instead of just thinking they are a bit weird and keeping your distance. I know people who some would consider weird (and/or even think the same about me!) but think it’s a part of their personality that also makes them that bit more interesting. If you were a biscuit would you rather keep it safe and simple with a Rich Tea or be a bit different and go for a Bourbon or a Jammy Dodger? Personally I’d got for a cookie, maybe a chocolate chip or a cherry and chocolate.
Let’s face it there is no picture perfect image of what is ‘normal’, we’re all a bunch of misfits who have the illusion we’re normal because we’re mixing with similar misfits. Break out of the cookie cutter mould and find out what biscuit you are.