My daughters and I have ‘chat time’ before we go to bed at night. We talk about life, mindfulness, social issues, current affairs, fears, anxieties etc…or as my husband calls these times — ‘Mom’s Oprah moments’ :)))
This week my younger one (10 years old) talked about being different. She said that she was interested in different things than the other girls. She wants to be an artist and a scientist — She is hooked on to watching videos on upcycling. Chooses activities in school that are traditionally ‘non-girly’ such as the junk modeling club and the Lego club. She shared that she feels socially left out sometimes because of this. After our bedtime ‘Oprah moment’ I was glad she was all right with being a ‘misfit’. There are moments I have felt like one and any of us who have done anything of service to the world (however small) have felt this way.
Here are three things that I told her about being a misfit. From time to time I need these lessons too. Jotting them down if you feel like us sometimes. Here you go:
Self-acceptance: The more self-aware and self-accepting you are of your ‘misfitness’ the more influential you can be.
Weird is wonderful- Wear this as a badge!
The more comfortable you are with yourself the more the world will be accepting. Remember people take cues on how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. The secret to influence is being confident and not shy in social interactions even if you’re atypical(like everyone else on the planet!). Just like a square peg that is not quite square; one edge is rounded. We are not always a perfect fit and all of us have an edge that is round. Let’s embrace our ‘roundedness’ and moments of feeling like a misfit.
Better relationships: What will not help is to be self-absorbed, accepting uniqueness does not come from a place of being socially anxious or having status anxiety.
Be willing to be seen in all your ‘differentness’ in public and once you have accepted yourself you will be able to withstand the onslaught of criticism and rejection.
The real change will happen when you notice that this acceptance of yourself will make you non-judgemental towards others- improving the relationship- both business and personal. I promise you that it will come if you don’t aim to go please everyone.
Presence: Those who are willing to be unique in public have greater leadership presence than those who conform because they have unconventional ways of approaching a problem.
These people usually have a different perception of social issues, and they are not shy to voice their opinion.
They are also open to being the first voice of engaged dissent in the group often taking on the leadership role becoming the initiators of change.
If you would like to use your ‘rounded edges’ to be more influential the first step is self-awareness.
Reflect on what integrates you and what makes you unique. The parts that make you different need your acceptance first.
Once you are all right with yourself -the world will be more than alright with you.
It is our ‘differentness’ that makes a difference.