Fitting In or Not Among Mirrors

In our world we are taught from a young age that we should fit in with others. Be like others. Though there is encouragement to find our own way, it is not meant for us to stray too far from the normal. I have always wondered what normal is. To me normal for one may not be normal for another. I also wonder why others feel we must fit in. I think on some level most of us want some sort of acceptance, that we fit in even if we are a little different. I would think acceptance is also wanted when someone is the same as others. I do not understand why this matters to so many. In some ways it seems very trivial to want acceptance of others. I would think liking oneself should come first and be the most important acceptance. Once you accept yourself for who you are, others will too. At least that is how I see it.

I have always gone my own way. I like music that others do not. I am female and feminine but I am not a feminist. I do what I want regardless of what others may think. If they do not like it, that is their problem, not mine. In this area I do not talk of being cruel, rather the way I live my life. I have my own interests and opinions that are different from many I know.  If anything I sometimes go out of my way not to fit in under certain circumstances. I prefer to be an individual not part of a group. I prefer to be rebellious rather than fit in. But there are times I must fit in, so it is at those moments I am not true to myself. I do not like it when I have to pretend to be anyone other than myself, so these times are few and far between. I learned early when I could be myself and when I needed to fit in. In my personal life I am always myself. This ensures that for the most part those who like me, like me for who I am, not for who I am pretending to be. There are exceptions to why someone likes me, but these people are probably not the ones I want in my life. Sometimes I look carefully at why someone wants to be friends and decide it is for their gains not mine. I may still be friends with someone such as this or I may decide I have no room for them.

I see so many that want to fit in. They try everything possible to fit in. Their need seems to know no bounds. If others are cruel they become cruel. If others do things that go against their beliefs they will do the same. Do these people even  know who their true self really is or if they have become the person that fits in?  How much work and precious time does it takes to constantly fit in? I wonder what is lacking in their life that they need to fit in so badly. When they look in the mirror do they see someone who fits in or does their image show someone who needs to fit in but does not? I wonder a lot about these people, but have no answers. I have always been perceived by others as fitting in so I have little to no understanding of how these people think. I then think to myself it is none of my business why these people have such a desire to fit in.

I also see others who do not fit in. For other reasons. It is not they do not want to be accepted but life has not dealt them a fair hand or sometimes it is a religious or other belief that makes them unacceptable. Society as a whole can be cruel. No matter how much they change their behavior they will never fit in. It seems a lot of their lives are wasted trying to fit in. These people are usually different, not because they want to be, simply because of circumstances. When I see someone like this I try to reach out to show acceptance. I have seen this in the very old who are in nursing homes as well as the very young in preschool or higher grades. It seems strange that when others that are accepted see that I am talking to someone who is not accepted, the person who did not have time for the unaccepted suddenly show interest in them. If time goes by and I lose touch with the unaccepted, the accepted fall back into the pattern of not accepting the one who is different. This seems unfair. Cruel. I will never understand how someone is not accepting of others.

My differences from others as well as being standoffish to those who are accepted seem to make them want me to like them. They try hard to get my acceptance even though they have acceptance of many others. The neediness they show when trying to get my acceptance is embarrassing to watch. If anything it makes me think less of them. There is nothing different or special about me that should make others feel they need my acceptance, but through my life that is how it has been. The unaccepted ask for nothing from me which is why I show more true kindness to them. There have been a few times when I show interest in the unaccepted that the accepted notice and try to figure out why I accept the unaccepted. They try to get to know the unaccepted and find out they are not so different and they remain friends. These exceptions that I have seen in my life are few. My only conclusion is that these accepted people know what it means to be unaccepted and that they are compassionate.

Whether one fits in or not, when they look in the mirror I wonder what they see. I think many shield themselves from what they see. I feel that this happens for a reason. People have found a way to fool themselves or to protect themselves. I think it is sad that our society places so much emphasis on fitting in rather than accepting ourselves and others for who we are. It sure would make life easier if our society became more accepting of all. At the end of the day, when our lives are done, I think we are all the same basically, whether one is accepted or not. It would be nice if people strive to be more open to differences in others and accept others for who they are. Not wasting the time they have trying to fit in.