Fitting In – Cookie Cutter or Piece of Puzzle

I’m just beginning to realize in these 61 years that it’s a good thing when you don’t fit it. I have been trying all my life to be like others – or be accepted – and not stand out or appear to be different. But what’s important is if you have accepted yourself. When you truly have accepted who you are, there are no more struggles, no more fighting with the world. In fact, the world accepts who you are when you do. The Universe has already accepted who you are but for some reason we can’t accept that. That’s where the drama begins and don’t we seem to love drama?

I think that’s the lesson I’m learning in having returned to the corporate world, a year now, to be authentic and okay with who I am when it looks so different from anything I see around me. The key is that we all have something to contribute in our uniqueness. Who wants cookie-cutter people walking around talking and acting like everyone else? That doesn’t contribute – it doesn’t permit growth.

If we accept our uniqueness, like a piece of the puzzle, we add to the overall beauty of the picture when we settle in and feel comfortable with it. Then we can grow and expand along with everyone else’s individuality in the picture. We’re all a piece of the puzzle and we need every unique piece for it to be complete.

Here’s an example of uniqueness in the story of an ordinary phone salesman, Paul Potts, auditioning for a spot in the UK’s version of American Idol (previously included in one of my posts called Footprints). I love this story. It reminds me how inspiring we can be to one another when we truly accept who we are and act on it.

What I’ve been experiencing in the corporate world is more cookie cutter than uniqueness. The work ethic has appeared to have changed in that you can think independently if it doesn’t rock the boat and it’s not tolerated to ask questions that may challenge others’ work. I’ve been having difficulty with this given my old approach to fitting in and thinking independently. I think I have “pissed off” (if you can say that) everyone in my workplace and I really don’t know how other than ask if something is correct or not. It’s like everyone is walking on egg shells afraid to offend someone and you don’t know when you may have offended someone until the supervisor walks up and asks, “Why did you do that?”

Even in that, I can see all of our unique gifts and talents and I appreciate how differently people work these days. I just haven’t realized until now that I had been fighting who I am in this process trying desperately to fit in and it’s not going to happen and it shouldn’t. We all have our own contributions for the whole and it’s in respecting others’ perspectives and honoring ourselves that we move forward and grow adding to life’s picture.

So, when you feel friction in your home or at work ask yourself a few of these questions:

~ Am I trying to make someone else do it my way and am I honoring the way others do their work?

~ Why am I uncomfortable when I stand out or appear to be different? Do I truly accept who I am?

~ Am I honoring my uniqueness and contributions to the workplace…to the world or am I trying to fit in to how others live and work and what their expectations are of who I am?

I am inspired in this new awareness of accepting who I am and in coming back to write and share with you again. I hope these few thoughts have made you think of your life and where you’re at on the path you have chosen. If they have, then I’ve accomplished in some small way what I’ve set out to do. With that I’ll share this quote from Patanjali:

“When you are inspired . . .
dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive,
and you discover yourself to be a greater person
by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”