For the longest time and way past my teenage years, I felt like a misfit. While this is a complex emotional topic and it took some self-development to overcome, I also felt like I didn’t fit because I was struggling to find my place in the universe. With every good and bad decision, I came closer to finding a life that fit and welcomed me. For me, feeling like a misfit has been tough but also driven me to where I am today. Here are my top ten learnings from being a misfit:
1. Giving up is the end.
Once you stop searching and trying, you will stagnate and stay where you are which means to live with your current misery. I continued to ask myself: Can I live like this? Am I ok if this continues for another five years?
2. There’s something to learn in every experience.
The most extreme experiences of being in the wrong place have been my most powerful guardrails for future decisions.
3. Everybody cooks with water.
After trying to fit in for a long time I learned many strategies to connect with people and became more routined at mingling with new crowds.
4. Don’t give up who you are but keep going and one day you’ll be proud.
Eventually you will develop into such a pro in your kink that people will respect you.
5. There’s a place for everyone.
Jup. I was 21 years old when I made I made my first decision that was not a compromise but something 100% right for me: I moved into my first flat. Come this year and most other areas of my life have fallen into place. It felt like it took forever, and I was a very gloomy teenager, but I do’nt know how I could have made it here any sooner. What really helped me was to believe the time would come where I could whole-heartedly say yes to something.
6. Respect yourself and others!
This is the number one golden rule in life, and you’ve heard it, but it’s extra important if you’re a misfit. Understand that there’s nothing wrong with you or your surroundings, you are simply ill-matched. Disrespecting others is the flipside of self-doubt and it will cement your experience of not fitting in.
7. Design your life so that your opportunities grow.
I learned this one from my dad; With every decision you make, try to increase your options. Consistently leveraging experiences can make all the other points much easier. As a misfit, you may be more observing of how groups or tasks function, utilize these learnings! Investment strategies follow the same idea: You really start making money once you reinvest interest.
8. Again: accept your kookiness.
It’s charming and refreshing if people are ok with their own weirdness. Most of the awkwardness of being a misfit stems from being uncomfortable with ourselves. Accepting your kookiness also means accepting there will be people that steer clear from you. They may be intrigued when they notice you respect that, but they may also just take off. That’s ok. There are enough people.
9. Let go of people who don’t like you and experiences that hurt you.
Don’t follow other people’s wishes. Don’t cash in unnecessary rejections. Who ever successfully forced anyone to like them?
10. Make bold decisions. And remake them.
If you’re unsure if you want to stay in contact with someone, cut the contact. If you realize you made a mistake, apologize and ask for forgiveness. If there’s no turning back, move on. Especially if you’re a misfit you’re constantly wounded by unreliable relationships. Do not over-indulge in them.
Some of these points may sound harsh and there may be other ways:
But as long as I felt I was in the wrong place, I felt misunderstood, underestimated and genuinely de-validated, where as soon as I started taking life in my own hands, cutting out activities that were not rewarding to me and jumping into cold water over and over again, I became a happier, more satisfied person. And I came closer to understanding what I really want to do. Did you make different experiences? What are your greater learnings? How did you cope with the universal teenage experience of being misunderstood and neglected? Let me know in the comments below!