Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in?

Do you ever feel like you are not like other people your age? I completely understand.

It took me a long time to accept my gift, and I feel very fortunate that I feel like I fit in my life now. However, it wasn’t always like that. I went through a lot of years, especially in high school, where I felt like I didn’t fit and that I didn’t belong. During this time, I learned a lot about life and I know it made me stronger, but it was awful to go through. At one time or another, many of us feel like we don’t fit in, but there are things we can do to change that.

Find your tribe.

Growing up, I was not an athletic kid. Far from it. So I didn’t fit in with all the athletes and jocks at the fancy prep-school my parents put me in. The other kids wanted football scholarships, and I just wanted to go to the mall! I felt like an outcast. Instead of going to parties, drinking and getting into mischeif, I spent a lot of time on my own feeling very left out. At the time I was living in a small community, and I got bullied by kids. My parents transferred me to a different high school for my senior year. All of a sudden, I had people I could connect with. Finally, I found other kids who were like me. We shared the same interests, and I started making friends. It was a great experience.

Looking back, I’m glad that I experienced the challenge of “not belonging” in high school – they taught me so much. We’re all here to learn lessons and to grow. Here are some of the lessons I learned through my high school experience:

Be yourself & love who you are.

What I have learned is that It is so important for kids to learn to be themselves. Society pressures us so much to fit a mold or be like other people. Today’s world is different, I love that there is so much more awareness now that being different is okay.  I know that people still get judged and ridiculed for not fitting other people’s expectations. One of the best things we can do for the people we love is accepting them just the way they are and help them accept themselves. We need to start by looking in the mirror and accepting ourselves first.

Be open to new experiences.

Sometimes feeling different is all in your head. When you were a teenager… and even as an adult…you may meet someone new and automatically place judgment and think they’d never want to be your friend. You try to compare yourself to that person to try to find a reason they would want to be your friend. Instead, you place doubt and never let friendship organically happen. Try the opposite.

The next time you meet someone new, be guided by your heart and not your headTry saying hello! Or try a new activity. Do you know that saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Not true! I have lots of friends who have started new hobbies and are doing things they never imagined they’d be doing. And making great friends while they’re at it!

Mean girls (and guys) come in all ages.

Even as adults, we sometimes find ourselves in a group of people where we don’t really fit. Sometimes as we get older, some of our friendships don’t age very gracefully. We might not have as much in common anymore. A friend of mine realized that she had a bunch of friends who were “mean girls”…and they are all in their forties! She didn’t want to hang out in the negative energy hearing them gossip. It made her feel bad. She signed up for a yoga class on her own and ended up making some new, more positive friends. We are never too old to make new friends!

Out with the old and In with the New.  

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of old friends, even when they treat you bad. There is a piece of you that wants to hold onto the hope and belief that they will end up being that happy person again that you once knew and loved. The issue, however, is that if they make you feel bad then they just don’t belong in your life. Remember that when you subtract negative people from your life, you open the door for new positive people to enter.

Life is all about change, growth, and development. Remember that at the end of the day you are in control of your own Happiness and your own emotions. If someone is bringing down your energy, it might be time to separate yourself. Always remember that you are unique, special and different. If someone does not value your friendship or love you for who you are, there is someone out there that does.

It might seem difficult, but once you accept yourself and embrace life, good people, experiences and friendships will just have a way of finding their way into your life.

Let’s keep in touch.

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