Learning to fit in is the bane of an adult life. Childhood is so over-rated, primarily because it lets a person be, rather than constantly pushing them towards ‘becoming’ something else.This chasm between ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ is a constant source of struggle, discontentment, and dissatisfaction in modern day life.
It is only in the first few initial years after birth that a child is allowed to assert his own personality and just ‘be’.Quite the other way round, in fact. The entire household turns on its head in an attempt to effectuate a grand appeasement policy garnered to mollify the alternate turns of shrieks and giggles of the latest entrant into the family.
The bubble soon bursts though. The legendary cries of a pre-schooler stepping into the gates of a school is on account of the fact that no more will the world now turn around his axis. The tables have turned. The expectation has set in. Time to step up the game and play it according to the rules set by cosmos. The world ceases to be your oyster and you realize you are but an insignificant speck in the scheme of things unless and until you learn to fit in, fast.
So much so that each new venture that takes you higher and further, the ‘learning to fit in’ syndrome also keeps on swelling in magnitude till one day it becomes the deal breaker between you and success. It is one of the most vital life skill helping you form relationships, forge social ties, and assert professional success.
From the limited confines of a school to the wider expanse of college, then university, to the open realms of career, marriage, social interactions, learning to fit in, is a constant sword hanging over your head. Just sometimes, if luck be on your side, you are allowed to blend effortlessly in a certain peer group and stamp your individuality on the system around but mostly the shoes is on the other foot. You are constantly required to maintain collegiality and collectively to maintain some semblance of cohesion, else be branded as a social outcast and professional recluse.
‘Learning to fit in’ is highly priced in today’s times. Despite having the best of education, professional knowledge, technical skill and noblest of intentions, without the required soft skills needed to work as a team member, resolve conflicts, break the ice, lead from the front, success shall remain elusive. Impeccable language and communication skills, behavioural etiquettes and overall a genial and trusting attitude makes a huge difference in the way we fit in, with the world, at large.
In this constant one-upmanship of corporate humdrum, one can just hope one’s personality is not compromised to the extent that one feels the need to sublimate oneself, in a bid to survive. Rather than persistently learning to fit in, it would be way more conducive, if we can allow our children to have a sense of belonging. Learning to fit in is a struggle to assess the situation and change oneself accordingly; ‘belonging’ is the freedom to be oneself, forge real connections and re-assert our authenticity.