Happy New Year! I know, I know, I should be writing about resolutions and goal setting, but I’m not. Why? Because by now we all know the drill. We’ve done our vision boards, have written the plan, and set the goals. The truth is none of that matters if we don’t live authentically into who we are.
We are living in a time of great deception. Who knows what’s true? We are surrounded by propaganda, disinformation, AI, Photoshop, and other technologies that can delude us and cause us to question reality. If social media influencers tell the story -- everyone is successful and living their best lives. If you’re not careful and discerning, it’s easy to become taken in and swept up in the game. Before you know, you’re masquerading.
Even in our places of worship, we equate material success with the blessings of God. We’ve created a culture that applauds good deeds over and above the passion of discipleship. We wear the veneer of righteousness to cover our wretchedness, pretending to be whole. We hunger for words of encouragement that provide a moment of joy rather than embrace words of instruction that can potentially transform our lives and those around us. (But I digress, that’s another blog.)
We cloak ourselves with veiled personas to get in and fit in – at work, at worship, for camaraderie and the culture. Reality is we are left exhausted, anxious, and standing on shaky ground. Jesus said, there is a narrow path and there are only a few that find it so, it seems to me then, that if everyone is going left, I ought to be going right. Pun intended.
There are reasons that we are who we are, and it is far healthier to honor our uniqueness than to shape ourselves into masked hijackers, stealing the habits and views of others while hiding our truest selves. There are also reasons we lean into ”fitting in” behavior. Here’s just a few I find prevalent in my women coaching practice. I think they’re worth looking at.
Unresolved issues. I call this walking in our wounds. Sometimes issues from our childhood shape us in ways that we don’t fully understand. We want to hide the pain of poverty, the shame of sexual violation, the trauma of a parent’s addiction. We are afraid of vulnerability, so we pretend that we can handle all the mess life throws at us. We hide behind degrees, titles, and newly learned social graces, but we are only imposters covering our wounds.
Uncertain identity. We have allowed others to define us. Our parents and others in authority may have set expectations for our lives that we feel obligated to adhere to. Peer groups can also have that impact. We easily conform to be accepted in social, civic, or religious groups. Sometimes, we latch onto what others have spoken into our lives that reflects their own fears and insecurities. Saying that we can’t or won’t or perhaps will never be whatever it is that our heart desires.
Underlying intimidation. We fear how others perceive us, so we feed our desire to fit in and be liked by them. We all have a need to belong; to be connected to the group. It’s tough being on the outside looking in. According to Psychology Today, the need for acceptance is a basic human instinct -- although some value it more than others. In order to fit in, we often present slightly different versions of who we are, depending on the environment and whose company we are in.
Truth is God has made each of us unique. Yes, we are all as magical and rare as the unicorn. You are the only you and I am the only me. It seems that we should be elated with that truth, but most often we are not. It’s so important that we embrace who we are. Here’s a few reasons why.
Purpose – We each came into the world with an assigned purpose. There is no one who can beat you being you. We were given gifts and talents that are uniquely ours and we should work to perfect them. If you are a singer, there are many singers in the world but, your voice is distinct. No one has the timbre and pitch of your voice. If you are a preacher, no one else has the insights and experiences that you bring to a text. That’s why many are called. No matter what your gift may be, work to perfect it. Learn, learn, and never stop learning. It will be for your good and for God’s glory.
Position – We have a specific assignment or position to play. We have been assigned to specific things for specific people. In other words, everybody is not going to relate to who you are and what you do, but you have a tribe that is waiting for you. There are thousands of coaches, consultants, Bible study teachers, doctors, moms, etc. Nobody does it like you! When we are authentic, we will attract our tribes. Until then, we are all over the place, wondering why people don’t like us and wondering why we don’t fit in even though we try. You don’t have to fit in to get in. You will attract your tribe by just being you!
Praise – When you are your authentic self, your life is a praise to God. It expresses that you trust and believe that God knew exactly what God was doing when you were made in your mama’s womb. Read Jeremiah 1:5, NIV. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
So, maybe you weren’t set apart to be a prophet but, I can assure you that you were called to something. Maybe a singer, or teacher, or doctor, or mom. A therapist, a dancer, or administrative genius. Oh my! Here’s what I’m sure of, your tribe is waiting for you. In fact, the world is waiting! So, don’t worry about fitting in. Look in mirror, adjust your crown, and get ready to stand out!
Need help repositioning yourself? Give me a call for 1:1 coaching or my online course. It’s a new year. Go on and walk like a boss!