By Sierra Kovash
I have never felt a strong urge to fit in. When Dr. Seuss wrote, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out,” you would have thought that he was writing it on my heart.
Let me be the first to say that just because I didn’t feel the urge to fit in, doesn’t mean I enjoyed being the odd one out. How contradictory. As an adolescent and teenager it was brutal, but moving into college I found my people; I found acceptance. College is a veiled version of adulthood though, it gives you a false sense of security of acceptance and approval.
Now moving into my professional life, I have been faced with the conundrum of staying authentic to my unique perspective on life, or conforming to the social mores of our region. So far my authenticity has been a catch-22. The people I have connected with have been God-sends, and accepted me for who I am. On the other hand, we truly do have only a moment to make an impression on someone, and first impressions have never been my forte. I have failed at making numerous business connections because I am too open and boisterous.
With all of this said, why still encourage authenticity? Why not encourage conformity for the comfort of others and for the continuity of society norms? As I have said before… we only get one go at this. We only get one turn at this thing called life. There is merit in being polished and mastering couth, but the true you will always eventually shine through.
If being your authentic self means you fit in, great. If being your authentic self means sticking out like a sore thumb, that is OK too. There is a place for all of us in this life, whether it feels like it or not. The ones who stand out are the creatives, the innovators, the uniques. Keep being you, and try to stop worrying about what others think. What matters is how you feel when you lay your head on your pillow at night. Where you true to yourself and others? Did you do right by those around you? Then rest easy my friend – everything else will work itself out.
“Authenticity: The courage to be yourself.” ~ Anonymous