The importance of fitting into society
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
What are your views on fitting in?
“It’s better to be a misfit than a one-size fits all.” -Mandy Hale
Mandy Hale, affectionately known in social media circles as The Single Woman, knows all there is about being a misfit. She entertains everyone on the Twittersphere with her anecdotes about life and her steadfast desire to stay single.
She will find a like-minded expert in myself. Misfit is my middle name. My small-size and tendency for weight gain when I was younger made me a sore thumb. A love for literature and poetry set me apart from my largely mathematically inclined classmates.
As a typical teenager, I wanted to blend in with the crowd. My against-the-grain uniqueness made me an object of much ridicule.
These days, I would not want to change a thing. Being a freelance writer still sets me apart from others, including family members.
I happily and proudly survived being a misfit. I still am, thankfully, a key that does not fit many locks.
A misfit may have difficulties fitting in, owing to existing biases and his own tendency to go against the grain. He is a key that is hard to turn for a few reasons.
a. He defies convention.
A misfit, of course, goes against norms. You will never find him doing anything according to convention. His insistence on being different may make him a source of annoyance or at worst, an utterly disliked figure.
His tendency to bend or break rules may cause others to tug their hair in frustration.
b. His perspective differs from others.
The misfit’s constant moves against conventional flows arises because his perspectives and focus on life differ from most in his social circles.
He embraces alternative views more easily than others and dares to expose his own differences.
c. People find it hard to get used to differences.
These differences are not palatable to all. The misfit finds it hard to fit in when others find it hard to appreciate the value of the unconventional.
People always show some degree of resistance to the new and strange, including the misfit himself.
d. He looks different.
To add to his sometimes different perspectives, the misfit often looks different. His sense of fashion is his own. If the misfit is like myself, he simply does not look as tall, slim or quite simply, “normal” as others.
Again, people, by default, find differences in appearance strange.
e. He believes that he does not need friends.
A misfit is sometimes one of his own stubborn doing. He firmly believes that he can stand on his own and needs no friends.
This recalcitrant attitude jams him in any lock.
Fitting In Is Not Belonging
2. Must He Always Fit?
Fitting in is always a necessity at times, At others, it is redundant.
The misfit, like everyone else, has the right to his own ideas and passions. He realizes that there is no need to always fit in, because there will always be others who disagree with him.
He knows that if differences do not exist, there is no progress.
3. How to live life as a misfit
If you are the misfit, whether by choice or by circumstance, how do you manage life as one? The customary pitfalls and obstacles are, after all, part of the package.
a. Discover your sense of belonging.
Start by discovering your sense of belonging. Acknowledge that you belong, above others, to yourself.
Claim ownership and pride in your ideas.
b. Celebrate your differences.
That means celebrating your little quirks and habits. They are not to be condemned, but appreciated as part of what makes you YOU.
c. Bond with like-minded souls.
They may be few and far between, but there will always be like-minded people who share your thoughts. Seek them out for support.
d. Realize that you do not always have to prove yourself.
Know too that you do not always have to prove yourself to others. While giving respect to other views, live life on your own terms. You deserve it more than anyone.
e. Your own passions are important.
Lastly, realise the validity of your own passions. We are here to fulfil different purposes, and all of them contribute to the fullness of life.
The passions of everyone, including yourself as a misfit, are important.
If you are a misfit, take pride and revel in it.