Talents hidden by conformity pressures

Most of us are in need of permission to be uniquely ourselves. We have been pressured to conform to other's expectations. We are indoctrinated with the obligation to "be normal", "fit in with everyone else", "not stand out like a sore thumb" or "be more like a particular sibling, parent or other relative". If we yield those these conformity pressures, our unique gifts, talents and traits will go unconscious. We'll deny they exist to avoid the pain of our unlived life and unrealized potential. We won't understand why we're unhappy, unfulfilled or continually resentful when we're trying to simmer down, fit in and act conventionally. We'll assume there is something wrong with us that justifies feeling guilty. We think we should apologize for being defective, deficient, or deviant. We've lost sight of our hidden talents.

Sometimes a phase of conformity is a good thing. During this time we develop trade skills, self confidence and a steady source of income. We seem reliable to others and attract a mate and friends into our lives who expect us to not change. If we go overboard at fitting in, we also saddle ourselves with a bundle of financial obligations on this same premise of how we are going to continually operate with mechanical consistency. We morph into a good machine like everyone else that values conformity. We are embarrassed by our spells of irrationality, emotionality and contrariness. We have no clue that we are experiencing bouts with our hidden talents coming alive.

Sometimes fitting in with the crowd turns out to be a bad thing. We "gain the world and lose our soul". We sacrifice our gifts and talents on the altar of materialism and conformity. We sellout for the sake of the almighty dollar, an obnoxious power trip or the appeasement of parental pressures. We are destined to contribute to the world in deviant ways. Our uniqueness is a source of inner torment until we show it considerable respect. We appear to sabotage great opportunities, self-destruct amidst impressive challenges and act out a fear of success. We are haunted by our destiny. We are paying a price for trying to fit in until we get on our own path and follow it with intense dedication.

There are many metaphors used by therapists, counselors and mentors for picturing this transition from conformity to fulfillment of a unique purpose, talents and contributions:
You appear to have been trapped in a dominant narrative imposed on your life. Yet you've had some sparkling moments that take exception to how you're supposed to be, act, think and feel. There's an opportunity in this to write a preferred narrative of how you see yourself acting, relating, thinking and feeling by you own choice.

You appear to have figured out how to be a good person in other people's eyes. You concocted a private religion that you've expected would get rewarded by fate -- so long as you didn't mess up. Now you're having a crisis of faith because your bad turn of luck has destroyed the meaning of your life and rewarded the wrong doers instead of you. While you've been humbled, shattered and ruined, you're the right size to receive your higher calling. You're in the right frame of mind to submit to your elusive, inner purpose. It's time to not know what to think so as to be given direction from within.

This person you've been proud of being is only a mask that you hide behind. You keep the world from knowing what you're really thinking, feeling and getting urges to do -- with this flimsy facade. Now that your pretentious claim on respectability has been exposed as a fake, the real you is free to come forth. The truth will set you free. The relationships that can handle your honesty will be the ones you treasure the most.

You've keeping your feelings from showing and occasionally flipping your lid. That's an indication of your having a lot to say that has not been admitted to yourself or revealed to others. The time for repression is over. The time for expression has come. You will find your own voice, unique curiosity, particular passions and soulful purpose -- as you write out, speak up or show the world who you are when you're in touch with your deepest feelings.
Whenever we make the switch from conformity to uniqueness, the timing of our transition is close to perfect. A long stretch of fitting in may work out perfectly with our ultimate calling. A brief bout with copping out may be essential to fully develop a complex gift for the world. We cannot be the judge of the timing in our lives. However, we can trust the process and immerse ourselves in the value of our present situations.

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