Today I saw clearly how much suffering is caused by our fear of not conforming. Even me; I want the group to trust and be comfortable with me. This morning’s session revealed that most of the people in the group had oppressed their own needs and feelings in their efforts “not to rock the boat.” I felt so sad about this; our need for love and approval can cause us to deny our very selves, sometimes to the point where we lose sight of who we are.
I am so blessed that my life journey brought me to an early realisation that I did not fit in. Because of my early experience of being thoroughly disapproved of, I did stop trying to conform, and came to realise that a lot of our social “rules” are destructive means of controlling us, as I have mentioned briefly in an earlier blog. I think that a child who is faced with constant disapproval will stop caring for the opinions of the disapproving, as a means of self-preservation. I know that there were times in my own life where I made a “wrong” decision because I felt I was being pushed so hard to make the “right” one; the only way I felt I could “own” my decision was to take the opposite choice to the one that everyone was pushing me towards. I imagine that this is quite common.
But – bye and large – I do not suppress my feelings and have no problem presenting my opinions; if anything, I am sometimes too forthright.
I believe that the best way to live is with more than self-awareness; I am also aware of what goes into my food, what goes into my mind, what energy surrounds me. I strive to remain grateful, remembering that I must not try to control events around me and that it is foolish to try to control other people; a perfect recipe for misery. All I really have control of is myself; how I respond to situations is my choice. I do not have to respond automatically – driven by fear of rejection – I can look at my fears objectively and choose how I will respond to any situation. Knowing this gives me a deep feeling of empowerment, which I would not trade for the illusion of “fitting in.”