Sunday Series: It's Okay to Stand Out
Hello and welcome back to the Sunday Series!
Today we will be touching on a special topic that may apply to many of my feminine, traditional, or homemaking women out there: swimming upstream.
It's true that for many of us, we feel out of place because of our beliefs or lives-- like we don't fit in, or plain and simply, like we're living in the wrong era. I have read this sentiment expressed from many of you beautiful people over my time creating this blog and YouTube channel, and I have even felt the same way on many occasions, so today I wanted to share some thoughts on the idea of standing out.
First and foremost, I must say that I do not, in any way, enjoy standing out. I'm not one of those people who has ever eagerly raised my hand to play a silly game on stage at a youth group, or go first for a presentation, or volunteer to do a solo at church: I'm not super shy, but I'm also not interested in being the only one with eyes on me all the time you know?
Now of course, it's great to have attention when it's positive attention: people recognizing your talents, perhaps receiving recognition for work well done, or performing a task or talent that you are extremely gifted at: these can all be positive experiences filled with success, triumph, affection, or admiration.
Standing out when you are being praised is one thing, but standing out when you are at the center of NEGATIVE attention can be extremely taxing, exhausting, and even depressing.
Negative attention can cause us to feel like an outsider, or at the worst, it can make us feel unloved, unwanted, and invaluable. Sometimes this attention comes in obvious ways, like a verbal confrontation or snide remark from a family member, but other times, it can just be a slow creeping realization that we are just somehow... different.
Our pursuit of tradition or femininity can make us feel incongruous with our peers, and even ostracized, and we can find ourselves somehow on the outside of normal, wondering if our desire to be "just" a wife or a mother is somehow a sign that we're deranged. The truth is that it's much easier to fit in and go along with everyone else, but for many of us, it feels wrong or even immoral to go along with the current normal expectations in society.
Standing out is typically not comfortable for people, but I also feel that it is especially difficult for soft-hearted or emotional women. Many of us value connection, communication, and the social fabric.
It can be incredibly distressing for women to feel like outsiders, partially because of our emotional intelligence, but also because we simply like to have peace and not cause conflict. Many women tend to be agreeable, seeking harmony and avoiding conflict, and going against society or swimming upstream can be incredibly distressing.
So what do we do when we realize that our beliefs, thoughts, and life are a sort of diversity that others do not appreciate? What do we do when we cannot find the harmony we crave? Do we give in and change our lives to make others feel comfortable? Do we try to hide our beliefs?
What do we do when someone hates our role as a homemaker, our desire to be traditional, or our natural femininity?
Today, I don't want to write or say too much in answer to these questions, other than to say that it's okay.
It's okay to not fit in: it doesn't mean you are a bad person, and it doesn't mean that your life is somehow not as valuable than anyone else's. You don't need to change, and you don't need to hide.
Although we can sometimes be called out for our differences, there is also the reality that many of us misinterpret the attitudes or questions of others, foolishly assuming that they think we're strange or that they disapprove of our lifestyles or beliefs, when really, they're just trying to get to know us. I think that sometimes we can be self-conscious of our differences that we assume that everyone else is judging us.
I encourage you today to remember that not everyone who is different than you or asks questions about your life is necessarily judging you. Sometimes, it's just you judging yourself, and no one actually minds that you are swimming upstream of society.
All we can do is remain confident in our beliefs and lifestyles, and pay no mind to the judgements of others. Not only will this help you weather the storm of real judgement, but it will also help you avoid percieving judgement where there isn't actually any to be found.
I know it's not always easy to become confident in our beliefs or lifestyles, but one of the best things to do is to avoid hiding our beliefs, and instead, fully embrace them. When we go all in, we will feel less distressed, like we cannot fully show who we are or what we believe.
Furthermore, a mind and heart that is fully set on living out our beliefs fully will be less surprised or offended when judgement DOES inevitably arrive. We will be more prepared for it, and less shocked when someone finds our beliefs distasteful. It is only when we hide our beliefs that it becomes truly shocking and hurtful when we are judged or ostracized, despite our effort to fit in.
The truth is that all we can do is continue living our lives as the incongruent, out of sync woman we are, and hopefully, we can somehow change the narrative surrounding our lives. People will never understand who we are if we do not show them.
But more than that, we can and should seek out friendships, community, and social groups who accept us for who we are. We can of course seek out groups of women who share some or all of our beliefs or traits, but we can also try to engage with social groups of different backgrounds. Although it's not always comfortable to explain our differences to others, there is a chance that others might be able to accept us when they get to know us, or even begin to appreciate our differences.
I encourage you to pursue friendships with people who support you, regardless of their backgrounds or differences.
It is true that people want to live in a homeostasis and keep a status quo. This should not be a shock to us! If everyone is going to be woke and progressive, then they want EVERYONE to be woke and progressive. I cannot even deny wishing that more people would be traditional: I think it is in our nature to desire similarity in the lives of the people we care about.
But because that will not be the case for many of us in our progressive Western society, I encourage you to fully embrace your differences, and to refuse to hide them to make others feel comfortable.
If you are peaceful being feminine, be feminine! Don't put on a show for people around you. They deserve to get to know the real you, and you deserve to live a life in sync with your core values.
Yes, you might encounter people who genuinely dislike your beliefs, but more often than not, most people will only need a small moment to adjust to your special recipe of humanity, before they come to realize that you are amazing just the way you are.
Don't hide your light my friends! Shine bright and let others see. People will judge you regardless of whether or not you TRY to fit in, so you might as well stand out.