How to Stop Trying to Fit In and Start Embracing Your True Self

Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 0 Comments

Jess Stuart | Tiny Buddha


“Don’t change so people will like you, be yourself and the right people will love you.” ~Unknown

I’ve always felt the pressure to fit in. There’s always been a gap between what I want to be and what I think the world thinks I should be.

I was a tomboy growing up. I climbed trees when other girls played with dolls, I played soccer in my teenage years when other girls wore dresses and went to parties, and even as an adult I preferred to watch the Saturday afternoon game rather than go shopping.

But the pressure to fit in and be liked turned me into a social chameleon. I tried to be the person I felt I should be so I’d blend in with those around me, whether that meant spending a Friday night at the pub or attending a corporate meeting at the head office.

Psychologist William James said, “A man has as many social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups.”

I’ve spent my life trying to fit in. I’ve always wanted to please people, to make my parents proud, and to receive approval from anyone and everyone—my family, friends, partners, bosses, and teachers.

So without even realizing it I would change myself, my desires, and sometimes even my opinions to fit into whatever mold was required at the time. But if you’re constantly trying to prove your worth to people, it may be true that you’ve already forgotten your value.

Last year I quit my corporate career to pursue my dream of being a writer and yoga teacher, but it took many years to get to that point. For so long I’d had these dreams in my heart, but the logic of my head overruled.

There was always a difference between what I wanted and what I thought I should want—my opinion and the norm of society somehow differed—and I’d always assumed I must be the one off beam.

This leads to a life of sacrificing ourselves to please others, living their dreams at the expense of our own.

I found the more I listened to, abided by, and fuelled these stereotypes, the more I was defined by them—defined by my career, the clothes I wore, where I was from, how much money I had, and what kind of car I drove. But none of this was really me, so why was I letting it define me?

We live in a world where we are surrounded by ideals. The media presents us with better versions of just about everything, creating a mindset that we should be striving for more, so there’s no wonder so many of us feel like we’re not enough.

We need to be richer, slimmer, fitter, happier, nicer, different in some way. The point is, we are all different and there is no right or wrong.

To find true happiness we must be true to ourselves, live our own dreams, and be proud of what makes us unique instead of feeling the pressure to follow the crowd.

It’s easier said than done, I know. It helped me to ask myself: What makes life worth living? How would you like to be remembered? What do you admire about others?


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