It’s easy to look around and think that all the adults around you have everything figured out, know the best solutions to everything and are pretty much sitting relaxing whilst waiting for their offspring to trip up so they can correct them. Reality check: Adults still struggle with the same things you do, adults struggle to fit in, they are likely to be less happy than you are and they do not have all the answers!
So why am I writing this to you today? Because it’s ok to feel confused, it’s normal to not fit in and it’s ok to not know the answers to everything or how to deal with difficult people or situations. The only real difference between you and the adults around you is that they feel they have to pretend they do! They feel they have to act like they get it whilst they’re still figuring it out. They feel like they have to find the answers before you do because they are meant to teach you. But more often than not, they learn the most from you!
I remember at school feeling like I didn’t fit in. I would like different groups of people, but they weren’t part of the same friendship groups. They were pigeonholed, much like society is in general. I felt so confused and conflicted and began thinking there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t wait to leave school and finally feel like I fit in somewhere in the world – spoiler alert – I still don’t know where I fit or who I am half the time. I have come to realise that humans are ever changing, malleable. Just like water fits into many different bottles, we too change depending on our surroundings and importantly who is in those surroundings. And like water, sometimes we will fit more of our personality into one place than we do another. I have lots of very different groups of friends, then there are family members and I find myself shifting internally and externally depending on who I am with. This used to involve me trying to fit into a bottle that was just too small for me or trying to fill a canister that was too large. But I have come to realise instead of trying to fit into something unnaturally and either diluting my own voice, or squeeze into an overcrowded space, I try to work out what each situation requires of me and keep the rest sacred. It is an incredible skill to learn that you don’t have to know everything about anything.
This is a skill lots of parents (myself included), struggle to master because they could have been raised in a generation where the parents were the head of hierarchy and children were led by them. It is natural for a child to believe every word that comes out of their parents mouth. If the parent says a cactus spike is poisonous, for example, a child may grow up believing them, because they are their first teachers. It is incredibly hard for a parent to say “I don’t know”. Sometimes it’s ego getting in the way, but other times it is simply that they want to be good teachers and role models for their children, unaware that one of the most important lessons they can teach their children is that as humans, we will never have all the answer’s and it is ok to say “I’m not sure, let’s find out” or to even admit that the younger person in the room may have more knowledge than them.
So, next time you feel like the only person that doesn’t fit in, know that most of the adults in the same room as you, do feel the same at some point.