Does happiness come from fitting in, or standing out?

We all want to fit in. We all want to be part of the “in” crowd but does it really bring us happiness. Do you feel Happiest when you are accepted or when you are being yourself?

At some point in our lives we all want to be part of a community, to feel like we belong. To make this happen we will make all kinds of changes to who we are. Some will be slow and organic others will be conscious and deliberate. These changes will range from cosmetic to behavioural, and for a time may seem quite comfortable.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to fit in. But what happens when fitting in means that we stop doing the things that we love, or start doing things we don’t enjoy? How many of us have set aside pieces of ourselves to be one of the “cool kids”, “on the team” and “part of the crew”? How many of us have done something we didn’t want to do just because our friends were doing it?

When I came out I wanted desperately to have friends and to fit it. I bleached my hair, wore t-shirts 2 sizes too small and borrowed my sisters jeans. I did it because my experience of the scene at the time was that these were the kind of boys who were getting attention, they were the ones that I noticed, and I wanted to be noticed too. I began to mimic their behaviour and on more than one occasion was a “screaming queen”. It wasn’t who I really was.

Eventually as I grew to know myself and the things that were important to me began to become important again, the layers I had added in order to fit in began to fall away.

The best kinds of friends, the true kinds of friends are the people who love you for who you are and not whether you fit in to their “idea” of what kind of person you should be.  It’s the things that set you apart from the crowd that gets you noticed. It’s the little things that make you, you, that people fall in love with. My truest friends have long since accepted me as the “Speedo guy” who just can’t help himself. They have been there for me through all the dumbass things I have done (there are a lot) and are still ready to pitch in their support when I need it.

I get asked questions all the time from young Gay guys trying to find their place in the world and on the scene. I know that the temptation to change yourself to fit in is strong but sometimes standing out in the crowd is your best asset. Like attracts like and if you want to be surrounded by genuine people then the best thing to do is be yourself. It’s not always easy in the superficial, bitchy world we live in but no amount of censoring yourself is worth any half baked friendship.

So does happiness come from fitting in or standing out?

I think the answer is somewhere in between. Having friends and a community is important to our happiness. Wearing the same team colours, going to the same places, having mutual experiences are what builds friendships. Keeping true to the things that make you happy and which set you apart are also important. Don’t give up your happiness just to fit in and don’t fit in just to be happy.

Happiness, abundance and infinite love to all of you Team Aussie Space Time Travellers.