The Courage to be Different

When is the first time you remember someone telling you to change who you are? Were you too loud? Too quiet? Were your clothes too bright? Was your personality too much?

We fail to see the power in being different when we are made to feel our differences make us defective. I often felt like a failure when I was around people who made the insecurity I felt from being different flair up. Too much of my sanity went into trying to fit the mold of what I thought I should be; I was constantly sacrificing who I was because I did not want to be different.

But trying to fit in never stopped the round peg in a square hole feeling.

One of my favorite quotes is from Pema Chödrön’s book Start Where You Are: “We’re always not wanting to be who we are. However, we can never connect with our fundamental wealth as long as we are buying into this advertisement hype that we have to be someone else, that we have to smell different or we have to look different.”

I’ll be honest, that “advertisement hype” can be difficult to overcome especially when we have been willing to sacrifice who we are to “fit in.”

In Braving the Wilderness Dr. Brené Brown says, “Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone, totally alone. … Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.” She later states, “[true belonging] is a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.”

I think we are all after true belonging, so, how do we get there?

It’s right there in the definition: we practice. We show up every day fully committed to being vulnerable. It is going to require us to be uncomfortable at first because we have been conditioned to believe we need to fake who we are to be accepted into the group even if we don’t like what that turns us into. We don’t realize our unique gifts, talents, and quirks were given to us for a reason and we don’t have to sacrifice who we are when we belong to ourselves first.

Our playing small does not serve anyone.

It’s time we become courageous by becoming vulnerable and exposing our true selves so we can begin to live the life we were meant to live. Will it be easy? Not initially. That isn’t a reason to run away from trying because we should expect things to be difficult the first few times we try them.

Everything starts with the courage to try.

This Week’s Featured Song: “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
“Say want you wanna say and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”

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