If I had a penny every time someone said this to me I would have a nice little pile of pennies. I might even have enough to fund the formation of a society called the I Never Feel Like I Fit In Society or INFLIFIS for short. We could shorten it to INFLIFS to make it easier to pronounce. I rather like the sound of it actually. We could skype and facebook and hold meetings and even have outings to lonely places that nobody else wants to go to. Who’s with me on this one?…Anyone?
I remember this awful game we used to play as kids in the “playground” at school. It was an odd sort of playing, when I think about it, based upon survival and endurance rather than any sense of enjoyment. Mind you this was in the seventies when whacking kids was thought of as perfectly normal and smoking was genuinely cool and harmless. Smoking was so universally accepted that our Scout Leader, Mr Johnson, smoked throughout every scout meeting, only pausing long enough between puffs to occasionally whack us scouts with a bamboo stick for some minor transgression of scout law that evidently did not include smoking or physical violence. It wasn’t perhaps the hale and hearty clean living ideal that Baden-Powell had imagined.
Back at school, the game in the playground consisted of deciding who we would run away from and
then running away from them. Did you play it? The selection of who we would run away from was based upon tiny meaningless shreds of nonsense, things like answering a class question a little too enthusiastically or losing a merit point for your House Team or doing well or badly in any tiny but significant way.
One day we had to bring in a plate garden and my mum helped me with mine and it looked fantastic. When I saw what the other kids brought in I knew I was in for a hefty dose of kids running away from me and feeling like I don’t fit in. So far it’s lasted about thirty years. Damn that plate garden.
On our Counselling Retreat we often talk to life long INFLIFS members. The truth is that a sense of belonging is a fickle friend, hampered by all kinds of psychological and sociable variables. The feeling of not fitting in, whether we like it or not, really is very common to lots of us. And, I hasten to add, I speak as a person who on his sixteenth birthday hitch hiked by himself to spend the day alone at a remote and desolate prehistoric site in East Anglia, England delightfully called Grimes Graves where I spent a wonderful day not fitting in by wandering amongst Neolithic earth works and imagining life as a cave man. It don’t come more lonely than that!
The Big Secret
The big secret is that “feelings aren’t fact” as I’m sure you know. Just because you don’t feel like you fit in doesn’t mean that you do or don’t, it’s just a feeling that we live with, and that feeling can be there for all sorts of reasons, it maybe part of your personality type or it maybe that you happened to be unlucky enough to win the class plate garden competition; whatever the reason, the feeling is just that, a feeling.
The way we cope with this feeling is exactly the same way that we cope with all feelings. Firstly we remember that we are in charge, not the feelings. We can do things to make the feeling worse and things that make it better.
If you are fed up with the feeling that you never fit in then you can change it, or at the very least do some things to help yourself. I wouldn’t suggest, for example that you spend too much time at Grimes Graves.
Here’s a list of things that other people have found useful when they want to change the feeling of not fitting in:
Doing Stuff That You Really Enjoy With Others Who Also Enjoy It
The trick here is to only persue things that you genuinely enjoy, not that you think you should enjoy. Whatever it may be, from reading quietly, to going to the movies to sky diving to cooking, traveling, chainsaw juggling…whatever you enjoy, and there must be something, then find others who enjoy it and do it with them.
Finding Another Person Who Can Share The Feeling Of Not Fitting In
As soon as you find a partner in solitude, you ain’t in solitude no more. If you can’t find a partner then talk to us and we’ll work out a plan together. Good counselling does work miracles.
Not Spending Time With People You Don’t Like
Don’t endure time with people who, for whatever reason, make you feel down or lonely, and this includes work colleagues. It may mean changing jobs, but that it infinitely a better option than enduring a life of enforced low self esteem and loneliness.
Cutting Out Everything, Or Anyone, Who Makes You Feel Lonely
Write out, on old fashioned paper, a list of all the things, places and people that ake you feel lonely. Next step is beginning to cut them out of your life. You can do it, you’re in the driving seat.
That’s just the start. If you feel you need a bit more help to get going contact a local counsellor or Life Coach or have a look at some other articles in this section Counselling Retreat they just might help.
Also, if you would like to join the INFLIFS (which I genuinely like the sound of) please just let me know, just leave a comment…not sure what we’ll do or what will happen but I guess that’s all part of being a INFLIF.
Thanks for reading.