The little boy stood in the corner, watching the other children play. He had come down from his home on the second floor when he heard the children talking downstairs. He desperately wanted to play with the kids, and be a part of the gang. But that wish had never materialized so far.
Soon enough, the little boy realized that he was the one that got left behind.
He somehow always found that he could hardly ever fit into groups of other children, whether it was at home, in school or in his sports classes. It was not that he was deliberately avoided by the other kids, it was just that…he was different.
He was so different that the other kids hardly ever noticed his presence around them. And whenever they did, it usually ended in an argument or a fight.
The thing was, the boy did not want to kill his values and principles just so he could be a part of the group. He simply refused to put with any kind of teasing or succumb to other kids’ attempts at bullying. He just wanted to be a part of a group of people who were nice to each other.
“Reality,” said the wise old one who happened to pass by, “presents a different story, young man.”
“How so?” asked the little boy who failed to understand the reason behind why people couldn’t be nice and friendly.
“It is because, in reality, everyone wants a different thing. There are times when others can give you what you want, and times when they cannot. Looks like the other children cannot give you what you want.”
“But that is not fair!” exclaimed the little boy. “All I want is for them to be nice to each other. And that is supposed to be a good thing, isn’t it?”
The wise old man looked up at the sky, smoothing his beard. “How do I say this…um…being nice can also be…boring.”
The little boy’s mouth hung open as he stared on into the wise old man’s face. “Right…” he dragged the word for a while, flabbergasted at the revelation. “Is that how things work out here in reality? It is a pretty horrible place to be then.”
The wise old one was taken aback by the little boy’s statement. Obviously, he did not want the child to reject reality. So the wise old man hastened to guide the child. “But the idea is, reality does not have to be horrible place, young man.”
“Are you suggesting that I succumb to their meanness just to be a part of the gang?” asked the little boy innocently, although the snide smile playing across his lips was anything but innocent.
The wise old man replied with a snide smile of his own. He bent down towards the little boy and said in a low voice. “Here’s a little secret that you can carry. When the others cannot give you what you want; you can make them want what you have to give.”
Of course, the little boy understood the wise old man’s wise words. He turned away from the gang that was playing in front of him and moved towards focusing on what he had to give.
This story is about the doom of fitting in.
We try to fit into school, fit in with our friends, fit in with our spouse, fit into our work place, and just fit in. When we introspect this part of our lives, it feels as if we have spent eternity just trying to fit in.
Right through life, many of us change ourselves to fit into this world, to try and belong somewhere, with someone. But how much do we think about how much we have lost just to fit in somewhere?!
In the process of fitting in, we lose a part of ourselves that holds our core value of being ourselves. Think about the child who did not wear the dress she wanted to wear just so she could fit into the rest of the gang. Think of the teenager who sits shutting up her own voice, uncomfortably listening to the rest of her “friends” bitch about another girl who she thinks deserves a break. Think of the woman forcing herself to go along with the rest of her family when all she wants to do is spend some quite time at home.
Think of what is happening within them. The emotions that they are controlling today, are also the emotions that will spiral of control tomorrow, affecting their health in its own way.
Being a part of a group should also not happen at the cost of our personal values. For when we stay true to ourselves, is also when we find a way to have the cake and eat it too.
Here’s to Being You!