Be different

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Carl Jung
Photo by: Alluring Exposures August 2020

From my earliest memory, no matter what else I felt or thought, there was always one particular feeling with me.

Even as I grew and matured, going through so many different phases in my life, becoming many variations of myself throughout my life is feeling stuck with me. 

That feeling is still with me to this day.

What it is

What I’m talking about is the feeling of being on the outside. The feeling of being different. A sense that I don’t quite belong. 

I’m not just talking about my teenage years when we all long to belong somewhere in some group with people like ourselves. I’m talking about it throughout my life. With my family, friends, professional associates, strangers, and anybody else that I have encountered in my life.

I always felt and still feel like a square peg, and everything around me is round holes.

From a very young age, I was always very aware of myself,  and therefore aware of others.

Perhaps because of my trauma is growing up, I’ve always been highly observant of everything and everyone around me. Before even understanding that I was reading people’s body language, before I even knew what a microexpression was, I was observing them and capable of understanding their basic meanings.

These subtle things that I picked up on give me clear signs that others’ thoughts and feelings usually did not match up with my own keeping me on the outside.

Struggling with being an outsider

Photo by: Alluring Exposures November 2021

Throughout most of my life, I have fought against this feeling. I even tried to deny what I was observing in the body language, and micro-expressions of other people were just in my head. 

I refused to listen to my intuition. I wanted so badly to be part of something to be acceptable enough pleasing enough that I could fit in anywhere. 

Like many preteens, teenagers and twenty-somethings, I often did whatever it took to fit in. Even if what I did made me uncomfortable or hurt me.

I can give you examples of when I did something simply because someone told me they would stop being my friend if I didn’t do it. These are things that  I would have never done on my own without that kind of pressure. Most of them are not good things, not for me at least.

What this did to me

I didn’t realize how much damage it was causing to my heart, my mind my life as a whole. 

On the outside, I gave the appearance of not caring what anyone thought about me. 

Photo by: Alluring Exposures November 2021

Oh, but I did. I cared much more than I ever should have. At the same time, I cared very little for what I thought of myself.

I fought against myself and used my ability to read people to blend in to be a social chameleon of sorts.

I was unhappy, lonely, and angry.

Every transgression, every insult, every moment that someone told me I still was not good enough. Each with another log added to the fire that was burning inside me. A fire that I tried to hide. This fire was just as much a part of me as my fingerprints were. Yet time and again, I wanted to kill it for the sake of others.

I denied who I was. I restrained my anger, and there is a saying that depression is anger that has gone unexpressed. It’s no wonder I developed panic attacks, a desire to hurt myself, the inability to make decisions, and suicidal thoughts. Either I didn’t sleep enough, or I slept too much. My body felt filled with lead, and I moved slowly. I felt guilty for taking care of myself.

Accepting being on the outside

It wasn’t until some massive changes happened in my life that left me alone, and without any help, I started to see the fire within. During this time of fighting and isolation just for my survival, I realized I would never be exactly like anybody else.

Photo by: KathrynLuisa

With that realization, I started to accept myself as being different. 

The freedom that came with accepting that I will never be the same as anyone else in my life is so much joy. I also now understand why I shouldn’t ignore my observations when I read the body language in micro-expressions of other people.

The benefit of being on the outside

Sometimes being on the outside puts you directly in the middle of everything. 

I once talked to someone who felt guilty about not taking sides on a very public controversial subject.

Her friends kept telling her she needed to take one side or another.

I asked her why she was having a hard time choosing which side to be on.

Photo by: Alluring Exposures November 2021

She said it was because she could see the perspectives of both sides. She could see how they were both right and wrong in their ways and why they felt the other side was wrong. She saw both sides objectively without judgment. 

She wasn’t wrong for not choosing one side over the other. I helped her see why her guilt was due to the pressure from her friends and not her truth. She walked away with a greater understanding of herself and the people in her life  Because she could see them much more clearly. 

Just as I was able to start objectively observing people allowing me to avoid repeating mistakes in relationships with new people that I have made previously,  she was able to see that she was doing what was suitable for her.

Be different, be yourself, because you are amazing

There is nothing wrong with being different with being on the outside with not fitting in. These extraordinary things make you different, make your life richer, and bring the best kind of people to you.

Accepting how you’re different helps you take all the pressure out of your life. It also allows you to see which fights are worth fighting for and those that aren’t.

In what ways are you different from others? Leave your answer in the comments.

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