The Problems with Wanting to Fit In
When we start a new school, often we are faced with the pressure to fit in with the other kids. We feel this need to be one of the ‘popular’ people and be higher on the social ladder. Not everyone feels this pressure or desire, but those who do can try and attain this status through means which are damaging to their mental health. The act of wanting to change who you are to fit in is harmful enough to our mental health.
Read on to learn more about the problems with wanting to fit in and how you can overcome this desire and start learning to love yourself for who you are.
Damaging to Mental Health
Wanting to fit in with the popular kids at school or even work can be damaging to your mental health; ultimately, you are pushing aside everything that makes you unique to mould yourself into this ‘perfect person’ that you believe you need to be. You look at the attributes and personality traits that you have and see them as lacking, as not enough to be liked by others, and so, you strive to be something and someone else. This impacts your self-confidence significantly as no matter what you do, you will never accept who you are as a person.
No matter what you do to change how you look and act, you will always see it as not enough; as deep down, you know that you are lying to others about who you are. You can generate body confidence issues as a result and start to hate the way you look; leading to anxiety and depression which can then lead to eating disorders in the long run.
Caught in a Web of Lies
When we feel the pressure to fit in and change ourselves, we often, as a result, have to lie to others to create the illusion that we are someone different than who we are in reality. Maybe you want to seem richer or more cultured like a specific group of people at school. Because you desire to be on the same level as them, you lie about your background to seem like ‘one of the group’. While these lies might seem to work at the start, they can be hard to keep up and are damaging to your mental health as you deny who you are every day.
If you get caught in your lies, it can be embarrassing and humiliating for you and can even lead to bullying. No matter how long you have lied for, people can take this situation and use it to make you feel depressed and ashamed of at school. The best course of action is never to lie, and always to be true to who you are and where you are from.
With the pressure to fit in with groups who are different to us, we often make ourselves feel unimportant if we aren’t associated with them. Maybe they are the popular kids at school or people you aspire to be like. Either way, when we don’t see similar characteristics in us that we see in them, we can feel unimportant. Maybe you want to be cool, one of the popular kids and someone everyone knows at your school. If you aren’t like this now, you can feel like you are nothing.
Rather than letting this feeling eat at us and potentially lead us to depression, we need to see that being cool or popular isn’t everything and that just because you have a smaller group of friends or aren’t at the top of the social ladder, doesn’t mean you are unimportant. Your life shouldn’t revolve around popularity.
Could be Pressured into Things
Not only could you be pressured to change who you are as a person, but you can also be pressured into doing things that are detrimental to your physical and mental health. If you are trying to fit in with a particular crowd, you might feel the pressure to act as they do, even if that includes things which are terrible for your health or even illegal. You might be faced with the pressure to smoke or do drugs, depending on the people you surround yourself with. It might seem like a one-time thing at the time to get them to like you, but the more you try to fit in with them, the more smoking or drugs you can end up consuming. The mental and physical health effects of these things are apparent, so you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing them.
How to Overcome This
Now that you know more about the dangers of wanting to fit in, you can start to try and overcome this pressure. The first thing people who feel the pressure to fit in with a group of people need to do is start learning to accept who they are. When we change ourselves to fit in with others, we deny the characteristics and personality traits that make us uniquely us. We need to learn to love ourselves so that we don’t feel the need to change, but rather let people love us and like us for who we are.
People who want you to change won’t make good friends, and they will always want to alter you in some way and make you feel inferior to them. You should avoid people like this who will never accept you for who you are; being friends with these people will not only bring your self-confidence down, but they will have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.
If you feel affected by your experience with the pressures to fit in or are still suffering from self-confidence issues, then speaking with a therapist could be beneficial to you. A therapist can help you build up your self-confidence again and help you learn to love you. By talking to them about your experience, they can help you to understand that the people that you’re surrounded by don’t benefit you and will only damage your mental health further. You shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask for help when it concerns your mental health as you should always look after your mentality and never be made to hate the things that make you, you.