“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”
For many years, I thought it was just me who was “different”. Didn’t fit in or go with the flow. Of course, I knew I was different, and even had scientific evidence to prove it. Moreover, I’m “creative” which automatically lands you in a classification all of your own. We’re automatically assumed to be “weirdos”.
At times, I’ve tried to conform, or simply conform enough. However, the older I get and with a burning sense that life is short, I can’t be bothered anymore. You can like me, or lump me. I’m not going to play to your tune.
However, is being myself and not being part of the crowd such a bad thing? Is being authentic actually more important than conforming?
I guess it depends on who you ask.
Today, I was reminded of these tensions when I recommended a favourite book of mine, Shel Silverstein’s: The Missing Piece. It’s been animated here and it is really cute, as well as making some strong philosophical points… Maybe we need to be a bit rough around the edges. Perhaps, being a seeker interacting with and absorbing a full smorgasbord of life, is better than being fat dumb and happy on the couch.
“A man on his deathbed or after he has been snubbed by his wife may enjoy a few moments of solitude, the rest of his life is a noisy gregariousness. He fears solitude as a child fears the dark, indeed it is a universal dread which one must learn to conquer. A poet learns his lesson generally by finding himself early in life shunned, he is odd. `Why was I born with a different face?’ Blake asked. Genius is fundamentally odd and men hate the exceptional.”
-Jack Butler Yeats
Another thing that got me thinking lately, is that I’ve been hearing loads of people from all different walks of life talking about how they don’t fit in. Have been the outsider. Experienced some kind of difference between them and the mainstream. Indeed, I’ve heard this so often lately, that I’ve actually wondered whether anyone feels like they truly belong. Indeed, is this sense of not belonging, of feeling different, something that affects the majority and not just the fringe?
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.
I don’t know. However, I’d like to find out and that’s why I’ve posed this question to you: Do you feel like you belong? Or, do you feel different or unique in some way that shuts you out?
As for myself, I’m simply starting to believe that I see the world differently, and that’s okay. That I have a way of seeing in between the lines, that has something to offer others whatever that might be. At the same time, I can miss things that are like neon signs to other people. However, that’s why we have community, because each of us has their own unique perspective, and I guess we’re all meant to come together to form a whole. However, too often, people ostracize and ridicule those who see things differently from themselves, instead of embracing their perspective and working out how it could contribute to the dialogue. It’s a pity.
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”
– Oprah Winfrey
There is also value in being your own person, and not just merging in with the crowd. Of not being afraid to stand in your own space, stand up tall, spread your wings and not apologize for being there. Each of us deserves that.
I’m not sure if all these thoughts have joined together in any kind of cohesive whole. If I was someone else, I’d have my list of points and might even be telling you how it is. However, I am more of a seeker. Somebody who is seeing dim shadows and shapes through the fog and trying to make sense of it all. Trying to make sense of what I think is an important consideration…Does anyone feel like they truly belong in our modern civilization? That’s probably putting it too strong, but you get my drift and I’m truly interested to read your feedback.
So, I’ll leave you know with the thoughts of Aslan:
“Don’t doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.”