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A Pain that Limits Freedom

I have been reading about pain - not physical pain but the 'pain' or fear of being isolated, always needing to feel safe. It's a problem I have found in myself. I realize that recognizing this and facing up to it is part of personal growth and should be overcome even in old age! It really affects my whole life in one way or another.

I have the fear of being rejected by people. I always seek acceptance. Many of my actions are governed by the avoidance of this 'pain'. Others, of course, experience the same sensation. They are always conscious of their weight or strength compared to other people, they feel they must dress in a certain way, talk in a certain way, or wear a fashionable hairstyle, for fear of being 'rejected' by their social set. They feel that they must always conform. It determines how they act. One seeks to always be acceptable to others. This can prove to be hard work! I don't feel free to be myself. Always "What will others think of me."


and then there are those of us who found that we didn't fit the "accepted" from the time we were teenagers and really had no other choice but to be the person we are

for some people that was difficult, even traumatic
for others it meant "being out of sync", "different", "going your own way" and making your own life - just the way it was
Is not this fear of rejection in the weak at the heart of the terrible bullying that seems to be rife today?
do some people just fit the "accepted average" picture - that's who they are - maybe most people do

there is increasing study in gender - it seems to be a continuum - there is not and either/or to male/female
but degrees of both in every individual

so perhaps the same is true in fitting into the "societal norm" - some people do easily - others to a lesser degree - and those on the farthest of this continuum who are not like the norm

we are moving toward greater acceptance of variations of the norm
perhaps those who worry most about "fitting in" have either accepted value judgements that are no longer standard or live in communities or cultures which are still imposing value norms and standards
I can understand that when one has lived in a fairly closed community for many years it is important to conform. But why then is it that conformity to the latest fashions seems to be a problem with teenagers rather than with adults. Are they not "slaves to fashion" in all things?
you must remember from teaching how difficult the teen years are
how awkward they look and feel - how their hormones and feelings fluctuate
the anxiety about having to give up childhood
adulthood is exciting and desired but scary too

conformity and belonging means safety
a way to hide from all the things that seem so overwhelming
wearing the same style - liking the same things makes one a member of "the tribe"
gives one a safe identity

and i said - NO
i did not go with the prevailing "likes"
i insisted on my own choices
it wasn't easy
i'm not sure at this great distance i had any strong reasons - although at that age i had opinions lol
but i had to be me - no matter what it cost me - that i remember

as adults we form our lives with people and jobs and living spaces that reflect our likes and give us others like ourselves - if at least tangentially
fitting in and safety become less of an emotional necessity
It is always difficult to walk against the flow, but joining the flow means that you are allowing others to express your personal attitudes and sentiments and that's how tyrants such as Hitler or Mussolini get voted into office and given powers far beyond what they should have. Having people who walk against the flow is necessary. They are the prophets, the spokespeople for different values, and the reminders that other viewpoints exist. They are also those who are often imprisoned, tortured, and shunned. So, I guess everyone makes their own choices, but mine have always been to be on the outside in my own stream.

- Erulisse (one L)
As you can imagine, I was never one to conform and it cost me a lot one way and another.