Why All People So Persistently Try to Fit In?

What does it mean to fit in a group, a class, a community, a workplace? Why do we all so persistently try to become somebody like all the others?

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Dr. Seuss

Years back, I applied for a course, completely irrelevant to my job, but on a subject I was interested in. In the registration form, I had to complete was a question about my identity. Let me clarify, it did not mean my ID number but who am I and how would I identify myself as a person.

Suddenly, I realized that I did not know what to answer. My name and my occupation, the let’s say more obvious answers for such a question, both were in different sections of this form. So, what did they want me to write there?

Both of these questions were fighting in my mind in this order. The first, was “who am I and what is my identity? “And then, “what do they want me to write here?” Translated to “what do they expect me to be?”

The Real Question That Needs to Be Answered is “Who are we really?”

Spontaneously I wrote that “I am a free person able to become whatever I want to”. But just as I wrote it I erased it because I thought it was stupid. I felt embarrassed even by the thought of having written something like this on an application form. I left the field blank. After all, probably they did not expect something like this as an answer.

Later that day, I was talking to a friend of mine. I told her “if I ask you who you are what would you answer?”. Her first reply was her name, her second her occupation. I asked her again and she did not know what to answer either.

question mark on chalk board - why we try to fit in
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I told her about the application form she was definite that they were probably asking about my job and that I was far too silly to think about it so much and so philosophically.

Was it me and the fact that I was thinking about it too much that I had the problem or all of us when we instinctively try to label ourselves with just one of our qualities? And that quality would be the one we think people will appreciate us more for, the one that will make us fit in better to whatever this world wants us to fit in.

My Desperate, Constant Fight to Fit In Everything I Felt I Had to Fit In

Most of my life until recently, I spent it trying to adjust to a way of living that was mostly accepted by others. I spent time working in something I never liked. It was though highly appreciated by the community I live in. I allowed myself be surrounded by people I felt like I had nothing in common. All I did was I adjusted my behavior, my choices, and my life.

I honestly had this belief that if I express myself people would laugh at me. That they would not accept me, that they would judge me and I would be alone. I would not belong anywhere when I needed to belong somewhere. I desperately wanted to fit in whatever others wanted me to be a part of. So, I just had to adjust.

woman in black shirt is being judged because she doesn't fit in
Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

“Plants are more courageous than almost all human beings: an orange tree would rather die than produce lemons, whereas instead of dying the average person would rather be someone they are not.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

See, I grew up thinking that life is a constant fight for surviving and that those who survive are those who adjust. There were things that I just had to put up with to be able to do some other things. I never thought that life could also be about living the life I want to live and being surrounded by those I want to.

This is why I chose to enter a profession I did not like because it would provide me some financial security, prosperity, and other people’s acceptance. This is why most of the time I prioritized other things than my joy of doing the things I love.

The Fear to Accept That Yourself Is Unique And More Than Good Enough

Truth is that I, like most people, was too afraid to let my true self come out. I was trying to hide as much as possible. I thought that people would not like me if they knew all about me, that if I didn’t fit in people wouldn’t respect me anymore.

woman sitting alone on wooden planks because she did not fit in
Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com

When we try so hard to fulfill the expectations of others it becomes exhausting. It takes so much energy out of us to try every time to please everyone and forget all about ourselves and our needs.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

Lao Tzu

Accepting the fact that you Don’t Need to Fit In

Surprisingly enough, if you decide to accept yourself in all your weirdness, those who matter to you will still be there. Those we love and appreciate the most, already know us deep inside and have accepted us a long time before we accepted ourselves. Before we even realized that we are enough without trying to fit in, they knew we are more than enough.

four person who don't care if we fit in
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Bernard M. Baruch

And honestly, there is no point to care about any of the rest. The moment we accept ourselves in all our weirdness we make ourselves our priority. Our weirdness is unique and should be celebrated instead of hidden away like a fault. We only have one life in this world and we should live it following our dreams and no one else’s.

“It’s weird not to be weird.”

John Lennon

Why Fit in With the Normality Tribes when you Can Create Your Own?

There is no point trying to fit in with the so-called successful ones, the popular ones, the important ones if that makes us feel miserable. Our weirdness is unique enough to identify us and if we let ourselves be open we will soon realize that this world is full of people who are there to appreciate this weirdness and adore us for exactly what we are.

“There are no norms. All people are exceptions to a rule that doesn’t exist.”

Fernando Pessoa
four person standing at top of  mountain - people of our tribe
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Above all, being who we are means that we don’t fit into what others want us to fit in. Being who we are means that we create around us a community of people who truly get us, set us free, and become our people. The normality tribes are left behind and we create a tribe of our own. A tribe where we know that we can truly belong.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou

If you liked this you might also like “Choose Joy -5 Reasons to Empower your Choice for Joy” or “What is Happiness and Will I Ever Reach it?

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87 thoughts on “Why All People So Persistently Try to Fit In?

  1. Such a powerful post. I agree, we all have our own stories and own path. It’s more fun and interesting when you realized that you are unique and you’re so much more than what you thought you should be. Thanks for sharing this xxx

  2. I think it is human nature to want to fit in. we all want to belong. and when we don’t fit into a group (racial, religion, school society, etc) then it can definitely have a toll on our self esteem and cause issues down the road.

  3. Powerful message here and important reminder for everybody. One look at my blog quickly reveals that I do not try to fit in LOL. I do the exact opposite of most folks. I circle the globe with a carry-on, backpack, computer and phone. That’s it. Toss in a week’s change of clothes and I am set. But I am largely free and I think a lot of folks are far from free because they can’t accept themselves and do what their heart leads them to do. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • I went through your blog Ryan and I know exactly what you are talking about. You are a powerful example of a person who followed his will and his passion to live the life he wanted for himself. I wish more people in this world were like you. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. I have always stood with Doctor Seuss: proud to stand out! But I have only noticed how much I stand out during the past week when I was responding to a couple surveys that came my way. I was asked to fill in fields about my age, occupation, and race, among other fields. There were set options to choose from and, on a couple of questions, none that fit me.

    I was a little annoyed that no one had put a field where I could type in a custom answer, but afterwards I got to thinking about how not fitting into societal norms by way of what I think, am, and feel is okay and empowering. Not being part of what everyone else is does put me on the edge of the crowd, but I can see a lot more from there.

    If you asked me who I am, I would tell you I am a word witch. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing another awesomely thought-provoking post!

    • Ha I definitely know the feeling completing forms and finding nothing relatable to you to choose from the drop down lists. It is the least you could say annoying when ther is no custom field to complete your answer.
      The view is spectacular when standing at the edge of the crowd and you can see much further also!
      Loved reading your comment once again my dear word witch and I am glad you enjoyed my post ❤️

    • When you finally love and accept yourself you can still find s place to belong to. But this time it eill be the right place, not the one others make you believe it is the right place. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. Trying to fit in is so hard- and it’s one of those things that bothers me less and less as I get older. I still get it sometimes (when I start something new etc.) but now I’m more focused on being me 🙂 thanks for sharing these ideas x

    • It seems that the younger we are the most we want to belong somewhere. Maybe it is because when we are younger we are in the process of trying to understand who we truly are. Anyway, thank you Eleanor for reading and commenting ❤️

  6. Growing up I was told that being individualistic was not cool. It’s a societal pressure that we must fit into the status quo and follow the rules already in place. I personally believe that it’s better to be yourself and show the world how you stand out.

    • And this is tge only thing we should all matters. Gor ourselves snd needs first and only for those we really care for and matter the most. Those who will be there for us no matter if we follow the norms or not. Thsnk you for commenting Amie!

  7. This was a really interesting read! I think if I’d been given that application I would’ve been stumped too. I’ve spent so much time worrying about fitting in and being accepted but recently I’ve realised that people will judge you anyway so you might as well just be yourself! Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this.

    • People will judge anyway. Exactly as you said it. But better be judged for something that truly is you and makes you feel happy. Thank you for reading snd commenting ❤️

  8. this reminded me of something I once thought of “why walk in someone else’s footsteps when you can make your own”. I am so glad you are trying to embrace your individuality!

    • I am really glad you read it at the right moment Kathey! Timing is so important in our lives. I hope you do find and accept your true self. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  9. Great post! This was totally me an a teenager, trying to fit in and being who other people wanted me to be. I was miserable, and it took a while, but especially in the last few years, I’ve gotten to know who I am, and be myself.

    • It is for most people a common thing to try to fit in more while in a younger age. It is a pity cause when we are younger we have much more energy and we waste it in trying to be something we are not. I am glad that you found your way while growing older. Thank you for commenting ❤️

  10. I loved this post! I spent a lot of my life trying to fit in, even with writing I never told anyone in real life that I wrote because I thought that it was embarrassing. I surrounded myself with people who’s whole aim in life was just to be “normal”. I have felt so much happier and more free since finding a new tribe, as you put it, and not letting myself be bothered by fitting in!

    • I am glad you could relate yourself with my post Nicci and mostly I am happy because you found your tribe. No need suppressing ourselves trying to be “normal”. Thank you for commenting ❤️

  11. That certainly is a very huge question to ask which would likely mean many different things to many different people, but I would have never thought to answer it with my name and job. That’s not who I am. I think if I was answering it I’d either answer it as: I’m me or made a reference to my ethnic identity and my metalhead status, as being a metalhead was want stabilised my identity crisis from my abusive childhood

    • I think that it is a huge question and could have many answers as well. Going through something that has had major effect in how we evolved as humans definitely is important. But is it that something we went through what we can be defined as? Haven’t we had a word on ourselves once we were able to? It never goes away, I understand, but once something is identified we can also be so much more.

  12. Great article, and so true! We so often define ourselves by our roles rather than by who we really are. For years I even operated under two names, my actual name for business and a different name for my spiritual art and writings. I didn’t feel I could combine the two comfortably. Now I am just focusing on what I want to do, the art and writing, I feel like I am finally being the real me.

  13. I had be trying to figure out how I am for a while now. Only until the start of this year, I really who I am. This has reduced a lot of stress of me. If someone does like me for me, then I don’t care. Thank you for sharing this post.

    • As I say it is better having someone to dislike you for what you are than someone like you for something you are not. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  14. This was such a valuable and thought provoking read. I always tried to do my way of ‘fitting in’ but would always find myself lost. Once I stopped caring what others thought I felt so much more relaxed. We are our own individuals and should be proud of that x

  15. I tend to answer the question of who I am in regards to what drives and motivates me or what means the most to me — but I still struggle with it a bit too. I think we’re all different versions of ourselves with different people or during different times in our life, etc. This was such an interesting question to think about — I am going to have to sit with it a bit!

    • I think your answer about being different versions of ourselves with different people or during different times in our life, etc. does make sense. But to have a different version of ourselves also means we have a steady quality which is adjusted in any every case. And what is that main and steady quality? I think that this main and steady quality is what I mean when talking about a true self. Anyways, I am glad you found it an interesting topic to think about it. Thank you for commenting 🙂

    • This is what we all have to understand Alicia. That the love for ourselves comes first and we don’t need anything more than just accepting who we truly are. Thank you for commenting!

  16. We’re all unique and that’s what makes us beautiful. There’s a lot of judgement in this world and I believe that’s why it causes people to want to fit in and not be their true selves. You’re correct about finding community! If some people don’t like you for who you are, that’s okay because there will be a ton who do!

  17. Back in Highschool I definitely struggled to fit in. Now, years later I’m confident enough to own my personality, the good, the bad, the ugly. I think what helped me a lot to answer the question “Who am I?” are my hobbies and things I’ve done in the past (jobs,sports etc.) I also like to think of myself as a minimalist. Great post, thank you for sharing!

  18. Wow – this was like reading a mirror of my own life story! Struggling with my own authenticity is one of my main focuses. I love the idea of creating our own tribe instead of trying to change ourselves to fit into someone else’s. Well done!

    • In a world full of judgment most people try to adjust themselves in what it is expected from them. I sm glad you found it interesting. Thank you for commenting Laurie 🙂

  19. I really appreciate this post. We are all unique and need to stay true to who we are. We will not fit in all the time but we must come to grips with this. As awkward as those moments can be, being genuine gives us peace of mind. I believe God created us unique on purpose.

    Pastor Natalie
    Letstakeamoment.com

    • I love your phrase ” being genuine gives us peace of mind”. It honestly reflects on the opposite results of trying to fit in and debying your true self. Thank you for commenting Natalie❤️

  20. Hello Eri! I think the urge to fit in can be very intense. I have tried to fit in before. Sometimes, you just get to a place and everyone seems a certain way and you just don’t want to feel left out and you start trying to fit in. But the truth is, there’s much more fulfillment in being ourselves than trying to fit in and be like someone else. We are special and we do not have to fit in all the time. The only thing we need to make sure of is to be our real, authentic, and true self at all times regardless of what we see around us. Thank you for an amazing piece x.

    • There is so much more fulfilment in being yourself than trying to fit in. Sad thing lots of people need too much time and waste lots of their energy before they realise it. Thank you Ruth for commenting ❤️

  21. I have always been myself and I have never had the urge to “fit in” but I know this is not always the case for a lot of people! I have just come the point where I have accepted who I am, flaws and all x

  22. This was a great read! I can definitely relate to trying to fit in with others for years on end, but have realised that the right kind of people are more amenable to me being myself and I am happier that way too.

  23. This was a great read, and an important topic. It’s taken me a very long time to realise I don’t need to fit in… I am me and that’s okay. I’m a little jealous of those younger than me who have already mastered this, so much wasted time! But here we are, being my very un-normal self, and enjoying that.

  24. Really interesting read! I think we all go through struggles to trying to fit in and wanting to fit in. I certainly have, especially in the blogging world. It was only when I started to branch out that things really improved and I was happier!

  25. It so true. For most of my life I have always wanted to fit in. I am multiracial and that was hard for as I wanted to look like everyone else around me. I struggled with my identity but now that I am older I have learned that some people will like you and some people won’t. I have learned to just be true to myself. I really like this post.

  26. Great post! I think a lot of us struggle to know ourselves and we are in some ways always going to be a product of our environment. I like that you pointed out how you approached a situation and instead of “being yourself,” you asked yourself what is expected of me here as if molding and becoming what was needed was more important that you. I think of it as a spectrum. While I like to reflect and get to know myself better so I have a good sense of self when I interact with the world, I still think it’s good to know my roles and situation. Therefore, a certain part of me is coming out instead of a mushy fake me.

  27. What a good question and timely post for everyone. People fear not fitting in for the fear of rejection or criticism or there’s even weird survival instincts aligned with believing that you’ll actually die if enough people reject you lol. Being you is actually the greatest form of happiness and freedom. Super post my friend.

  28. This is such a great article! You know. I think the need to fit in is something all humans struggle with at some point or the other because a sense of belonging is a basic human need according to psychology. For me, I never tried to change who I am to fit it but I desperately wanted to as a kid, teen, and young adult. Sadly, because I was incapable of «faking it» (for lack of a better word) I didn’t fit into most circles. It wasn’t until I started working on my self-love, self-acceptance, and self-esteem that I realized I was an apple 🍎 trying to fit in with onions 🧅. Not that onions are bad, but if I’m not an onion, I would never be accepted by onions (if that makes sense). Sadly, we aren’t taught to accept ourselves first before we try to be accepted by others. The truth is, those who break the mode of society and stand out above the rest, learned this skill at some point or the other. Thanks for sharing such an amazing article. Much love to you my friend ❤

    • I think you summed everything up in your sentence ” we aren’t taught to accept ourselves first before we try to be accepted by others”. This is mainly the cause of all suffering. Thank you for reading and leaving your insightful comment ❤️

  29. This is such a good article and something so many people struggle with. I think it can also come down to a saying I heard once: The nail that sticks out gets hit. Many people worry about not being accepted and I know in my earlier years this was something I confronted as well as a teenager. Oddly, in the moments when I realized who I was and was proud to be that, I got more authentic connections from people who did accept me exactly how I was 🙂 Great read!

    • It is amazing how much energy we loose trying to fit in while when we accept ourselves those who truly matter have accepted us already. I am glad you liked it Andrea. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  30. Great topic. I think we all are taught to try and fit in when we are children. Its not until you get older that you realise its ok not to fit in. I’d rather be unique and my own person rather than just doing something to please other people.

    • We have all tried to fit in at some point in our lives, but yes, it is a bit later in life when we realize our uniqueness. Thank you Kelly for commenting 🙂

    • It is thee human need to belong somewhere but unfortunately when we are not accepted the way we are we try to change ourselves. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  31. You need to be yourself ‘your authentic self’. I found this when I got into my 30’s and started to not care at all about fitting in. I just had the view that people who are true friends will like me for me

    • You are right Alison! And this is how it should be. But it seems that to lots of people their need to belong makes them forget about it and lose their self along the way. Thank you for sharing your experience with us 🙂

  32. It can be scary to be different which I think is why people try so hard to fit in with everyone. I probably did that as a teenager. It can be hard to share or stand out especially in a school setting. Thank you for sharing this interesting post.

    Lauren

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