I am the contrast. I always have been. It is not a statement of arrogance, neither is it one meant to garner attention. It simply is what it is. For a long time I struggled with this dynamic; often being reminded of its veracity by the difficulty I experience blending in with ‘the crowd’, fitting into cliques, subscribing to norms, falling neatly in line with my counterparts, adhering to status quo. Nope. My life has always been the anomaly and for a long time I hated it. It means that I am always the one standing on the outside looking in and sticking out like a sore thumb, when I would much rather be part of the general landscape.
Most people, I have found, prefer assuming this position; wanting to be great, to be acknowledged for doing something extraordinary, for leading in an arena, yet not desiring to be in stark contrast to the general populace. But, were we really designed to live our lives simply fitting in? Were we not meant to be distinctly unique, separate and whole individuals?
Over the past weeks I have found myself revisiting this incessant and increasing push by so many to be identified with some kind of ‘label’. The need to identify with a group or to be affiliated with a collective cause is so much more pronounced like never before. Blending in is easier than standing out. Group think has become so much more pervasive than individual representation.
Am I knocking the power that comes from that sense of belonging? Absolutely not. That is in and of itself a very fundamental need as demonstrated so aptly by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of need pyramid. We need the group and the benefits that it brings, but when there is a persistent fear of giving full expression to one’s most authentic self, a dimming of one’s personal light, simply because he or she does not wish to disrupt the status quo, or because deep down the individual really has not yet fully clarified and established his or her own individual identity, there is cause for concern.
The moment I saw it, I was completely awe-struck by the accompanying photo headlining this article. It speaks volumes to me. It speaks of boldness, tenacity, resilience, a willingness to disrupt status quo, and to change the prevailing landscape. It demonstrates beauty, majesty, uniqueness, and individuality. It speaks life in the midst of decay and it signals hope. If one plant dares to push through and break out, standing alone in this contrasting backdrop, then perhaps, others will begin to emerge. Tell me, what do you see?
Georgia A. Bryce is the author of “On Your Way To Meeting You: The Journey That Changes Everything” and the Founder of both Building According To Pattern, LLC and Building Families According To Pattern, LLC. As a certified Personal and Professional Development Coach, Thought Strategist and Transformational Speaker, her thrust is towards helping clients discover their own unique blue-print and personal authority and guiding them into building their lives by design. Her specialty is in the areas of self-discovery, purpose, vision, leadership, and legacy development. For group and individualized coaching, or to book Ms. Bryce as a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator, contact her at 786-471-8312.