content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: Fitting In – Cookie Cutter or Piece of Puzzle

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fitting In – Cookie Cutter or Piece of Puzzle

I’m just beginning to realize in these 61 years that it’s a good thing when you don’t fit it. I have been trying all my life to be like others – or be accepted – and not stand out or appear to be different. But what’s important is if you have accepted yourself. When you truly have accepted who you are, there are no more struggles, no more fighting with the world. In fact, the world accepts who you are when you do. The Universe has already accepted who you are but for some reason we can’t accept that. That’s where the drama begins and don’t we seem to love drama?

I think that’s the lesson I’m learning in having returned to the corporate world, a year now, to be authentic and okay with who I am when it looks so different from anything I see around me. The key is that we all have something to contribute in our uniqueness. Who wants cookie-cutter people walking around talking and acting like everyone else? That doesn’t contribute – it doesn’t permit growth.

If we accept our uniqueness, like a piece of the puzzle, we add to the overall beauty of the picture when we settle in and feel comfortable with it. Then we can grow and expand along with everyone else’s individuality in the picture. We’re all a piece of the puzzle and we need every unique piece for it to be complete.

Here’s an example of uniqueness in the story of an ordinary phone salesman, Paul Potts, auditioning for a spot in the UK’s version of American Idol (previously included in one of my posts called Footprints). I love this story. It reminds me how inspiring we can be to one another when we truly accept who we are and act on it.

What I’ve been experiencing in the corporate world is more cookie cutter than uniqueness. The work ethic has appeared to have changed in that you can think independently if it doesn’t rock the boat and it’s not tolerated to ask questions that may challenge others’ work. I’ve been having difficulty with this given my old approach to fitting in and thinking independently. I think I have “pissed off” (if you can say that) everyone in my workplace and I really don’t know how other than ask if something is correct or not. It’s like everyone is walking on egg shells afraid to offend someone and you don’t know when you may have offended someone until the supervisor walks up and asks, “Why did you do that?”

Even in that, I can see all of our unique gifts and talents and I appreciate how differently people work these days. I just haven’t realized until now that I had been fighting who I am in this process trying desperately to fit in and it’s not going to happen and it shouldn’t. We all have our own contributions for the whole and it’s in respecting others’ perspectives and honoring ourselves that we move forward and grow adding to life’s picture.

So, when you feel friction in your home or at work ask yourself a few of these questions:

~ Am I trying to make someone else do it my way and am I honoring the way others do their work?

~ Why am I uncomfortable when I stand out or appear to be different? Do I truly accept who I am?

~ Am I honoring my uniqueness and contributions to the workplace…to the world or am I trying to fit in to how others live and work and what their expectations are of who I am?

I am inspired in this new awareness of accepting who I am and in coming back to write and share with you again. I hope these few thoughts have made you think of your life and where you’re at on the path you have chosen. If they have, then I’ve accomplished in some small way what I’ve set out to do. With that I’ll share this quote from Patanjali:

“When you are inspired . . .
dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive,
and you discover yourself to be a greater person
by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”



Patricia Singleton said...

Honoring who you are is important. The problem with that is that most of us don't have a clue as to who we are. Wisdom does, most of the time, come with age. Thanks for tuning into your own brand of wisdom and sharing it here. I have missed that.

Pat said...

Patricia - I so welcome your input and thoughts. You're right with getting connecting to who we are and not having a clue as to what that is.

I think what I'm learning is not to be so hard on myself but forgiving, approving and accepting.

Thank you for tuning in and being there in my way back to the blog world.


Pat R

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Pat - Wow, what a pleasant surprise to see you on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the comment you left. Ironically I've been thinking of you and was going to send you an email - and you showed up. Great minds.....

I like what you said about us needing to embrace our authentic selves. We are unique, aren't we? I don't think God would have it any other way. :)

It's late, but I'll be back again soon. Happy blogging!

Have a great week.

Blessings to you, too.

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work said...

Hi Pat - I'm inspired by you standing tall and being who you are. Some of your co-workers are secret admirers of your courage as well. I'm betting that more and more they will see the light that you are so honorably casting on your uniqueness.

Pat said...

Barbara - it's so nice to hear from you again and to be in touch.

Whew! It's feels like coming home and it's comforting to have you and others out there willing to bid me welcome back.

Yes, you're right in embracing our authentic selves and our uniqueness. Some of us are just learning to be comfortable with that and it's good for us.

Great talking with you again - look forward to listening and learning more on things you have to share.


Pat said...

Tom - thank you so much for those warm words of inspiration and encouragement.

You gave me a different pers-pective I never thought of or considered with "courage and co-workers as secret admirers".

It made me think of how much goes on beneath the surface we never get a chance to know. I know there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes in my head and heart that I never choose to share or the timing just doesn't feel right.

What would it be like if we could truly learn to be more open with each other in an encouraging and loving exchange - not judgmental or condemning?

If we come across too harsh, can we learn to listen and receive constructive criticism?

It reminds me of the analogy Dr. Wayne Dyer gave some time ago on squeezing an orange - it's an attitude of the heart.

When we're squeezed what comes out? It doesn't matter who is doing the squeezing, the time of day or what instrument is doing the squeezing.

The answer for each of us tells the tale of where we're at and what we still need to work on.

Thank you for stopping by and giving me some ideas to reflect on.


Pat R

Deb Call said...

If we are perceptive, as you are Pat, we can appreciate the gifts that come with age: perspective, that abilty to step back and observe not only those around us, but ourselves. I appreciate the questions you pose at the end of the post - both zero in on our underlying motivation. Are we forcing others to our way/or honoring their way? Are we trying to fit in, or honoring our uniqueness.

Great post - thank you!

Pat said...

Deb - thank you for your insight and comments. You're right with the appreciation of our gifts as we age and go around the block more times.

It seems when you go around the block sometimes the same things keep showing up and what I'm discovering is that there are lessons in that.

The things that keep showing up are things we haven't mastered yet and they keep showing up to remind us of that.

It's like what Wayne Dyer has said (paraphrasing): "I'm not better than anyone else, I'm just better than what I used to be."

Hope you come back to visit and comment. I enjoy your thoughts and perspectives.

Blessings - Pat R

Avatar said...

Most people don't realize how acceptance can change their current circumstance. I have quite hard time trying to accept who I am. I started and I'm moving slowly, I'm accepting myself more and more everyday. The more I accept myself, the more I realize I can be.

Pat said...

Avatar - thank you for your comments and patience for my response.

It's true that the more you accept yourself changes take place all around you. Acceptance of who we are begin with our thoughts. We have the power to choose the thoughts of acceptance.

And, more importantly, I think it's up to us to choose and change how we accept ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us. It's not going to happen and it shouldn't.

I'm happy to hear it's been working for you and how great the realization of the possibilities that are available to you the more you accept yourself.

Blessings to you on your journey.