Have you always felt the pressure to fit in? Do you feel that there is always a gap between what you want to be and what you think the world thinks you should be?
Then surely you will find yourself in distress trying to strike a work-life balance or accomplish a ‘life of harmony’.
The pressure to fit in and be liked can turn you into a ‘social chameleon’. You try hard to be the person you should be and try to bend backwards to accommodate and align with what presumably others expect of you.
Come to think of it you tend to carry and put on many social masks and generally show a different side of yourself to each of the social groups or persons about whose opinion you care.
Personally I’ve spent a considerable part of my life trying to fit in. Without realizing that I am losing myself in the relentless pursuit of pleasing those around me my parents, my family, friends, partners, bosses, and teachers and the community I live in. Many a time I have changed myself and my desires and even opinions to ‘fit in’ or ‘go with time’.
If you are constantly trying to prove your worth then you may have already forgotten or left way behind not just your values but your identity as well. This then does have a very negative influence in achieving a sense of ‘harmony in your life’.
I remember when I quit my well-paid and growing career as a ‘marketing professional’ to live my entrepreneurial dream, I always had that nagging thought in my head ‘if I did the right thing’. I used to get this thought if I was ‘off my head’ a bit to have left a bright future and tread into the unknown world of setting up a ‘business’.
My parents and family did contribute significantly to this feeling and thoughts as they had a stereotypical way of looking at life. For them it was downright stupid on my part to sacrifice the luxury of a secure job which at least would guarantee a salary every month. I realized that it was not just then but I was probably always living their dreams at the expense of my own. I also realized that by ‘putting on a brave face’ in front of others I was only putting on a mask for the context much like a ‘chameleon’. In fact I was slowly turning into one. By trying to show that my decision was working well and was providing me with all that which my parents and family felt I was missing. I caught myself lying to them about how my order books were filling fast and how I would be soon moving into a plush office in the city center. In fact I even did that and invited them over for a grand opening, hiding from them all the debts I had already incurred trying to live up to their expectations of / from me. It was going to be short-lived as the mounting pressure of sustaining the lifestyle was taking a toll not just on my financial health but my mental and physical health as well. It reached a point when all aspects of my life were getting adversely affected by the pressure of just ‘fitting in’.
The harmony in my life was greatly disturbed as my attempts to play the ‘social chameleon’ were really not yielding the results that I thought it would. I was sacrificing too much of myself to please others and living their dreams at the expense of my own. I asked myself “why am I letting others define me?
Come to think of it, we all live in a world where we are surrounded by the ideal. You find that social media increasingly presents us with better forms of just about everything, building immense pressure on us to strive for more and more. No wonder many of us in spite of having so much already still feel ‘we are not enough’ and there is more to achieve. It’s a vicious cycle and a trap which you find difficult to escape from. You are never satisfied! As you feel you need to be richer, happier, fitter, and different from others in some way or the other.
How then can you achieve ‘harmony in life’?
To get a semblance of harmony in your life you must first be true to yourself and stop being a ‘social chameleon’. Don’t be under the pressure to follow the crowd. Try to be ‘what you want to be’ than ‘what you should be’. Stop comparing yourself with others as this would stop you from ‘experiencing and enjoying’ what you already possess and get you to look at what you do not have and feel frustrated. Just focus on fulfilling your potential to the best of your ability. Set goals as you want than what it should be and prioritize based on what you think is important for you and will make you happy.
In each dimension of your life i.e., money, career, health, family, relationship, personal growth, leisure and spiritual – set goals which will make you ‘happy’.
Don’t allow social conditioning to turn you into a ‘social chameleon’.
Be ‘yourself’. Value ‘yourself’