5/16/17

Stop trying to fit in - be YOU!


Throughout my teenage years, I always felt a bit like an outsider. Although I had a lot of friends in the "popular" crowd, I felt I was too unique to be part of any one group. I expressed my individuality through my words, actions and clothing. Although at times, I think I had my parents a bit worried with too much freedom to be myself, I don't think I would be who I am today without being the desire to be a little different. This desire to be different required a lot of self-confidence, which was certainly a work in progress through my teenage and adult years. As it relates to starting my own business at the age of 30, not giving up on a 6-year higher education journey (Master degree then RD credential), alongside maintaining great enjoyment for an active lifestyle for the past 25 years, I've constantly resisted the temptation to be normal - or in other words, I've boldly followed my dreams instead of choosing the safe and easy route. I never worried what other people were doing but instead, focused on my goals and dreams as my choices directly related to my happiness and quality of life. 

In our society, we posses a lot of behaviors, thoughts and actions that motive us to pursue group conformity. The feelings of not being included are not comfortable feelings. Beyond the uncomfortable feeling of not being accepted in a group, is the anxiety, depression and strong desire to fit in, which can many times detour a person from his/her own path of happiness, success and content. 

As it relates to training for an event, pursuing a new sport, trying out a new diet approach or making a big life decision, there's a good chance that you have made a decision or two in life because it was "the right thing to do" or because others were making similar choices. While there is nothing wrong with this approach if you pursue your nutrition, athletic and life endeavors in a positive and healthy way, it's easy to feel inadequate, incomplete or unhappy when the motivation to make a change or try something new/different, does not come from within.

For example, many triathletes pursue the Ironman distance triathlon because it seems like the next best thing to do in a triathlon journey. Same goes for joining an online group or a local club. But many times, that decision to do a(nother) Ironman is not as exciting as expected. Same goes for a new New Year diet plan that is touted to be easy, successful and life-changing. While it's true that trying something new can bring a new experience and perspective to life, your decisions in life should not be because "everyone else is doing it" and you feel the need to fit in. 

What makes someone else happy may not make you happy. And this is ok. Your personal journey is unique to you. If you always compare yourself to someone else, you may always feel inadequate, not good enough and not successful. 

Life moves fast. Life is short. It's easy to get distracted and to make decisions that are not well thought-out or are not from the heart. It's easy to pursue something on impulse because it appears as if everyone else is doing it and you need to go along with the crowd.

Consider what is most important to you in your life, right now. Who you are now and the decisions that you make now should come from within. Be proud of your choices in life and the direction that your life is heading.

With the help of social media, it's very easy to compare your life to others. There's a good chance that you compare your achievements to the better achievements someone else and consequently, feel defeated with a sense of failure.

Stop spending so much time and energy on what other people are doing or what they are thinking. Ignore the need to fit in and stop trying to be something/someone that you are not.

You are good enough.
You are smart enough.
Your body is good enough.
You are worthy enough.
You are strong.
You can be happy.
You can be successful. 
You are great at what you do. 

Become the person that you want to be. Each obstacle in your life is there for a reason. Your life is moving in the right direction. Stay confident in your decisions and stand behind your choices. Always surround yourself with supportive and loving people that allow you to live your life.