We are born perfect and innocent.

As we grow up we become aware of things like doubts, fear, anxiety, and the ultimate need to conform to the standards fixed by the world.

Through the different stages of socialization starting from the home, of course, the girl child is taught to be silent and not speak loud, to be seen and not heard.

She is taught that there are chores and roles for girls, that she belongs to a certain place and not to be ambitious and gun for top positions. She is built not to strive for and achieve the absolute best she believes in for herself.

She is taught that to belong to the class of people that be, the ones that know what’s up, the ones that can get the hot looking guys and land the husbands with money, she needs to look a certain way(the fairer, the finer), has a certain body size and height(the curvier, the hotter).

In the corporate world, she is taught that she does not need top positions, after all, her ultimate aim should be to become a wife and a mother. More so, she is a second-class citizen who shouldn’t lead the first-class citizens – the men even though she is brighter than them.

And so the struggle is born,

The struggle to

Look a certain way and so we bleach our skin

Be a certain size, so we go under the knife and modify it

Prove that we are worth and capable of the top positions we vie for incorporate worlds and when our worth or qualities are not recognized, we sleep our way through.

Be validated and depend on men to exist.

The need to meet up or fit into the standard and expectations of the world looms large over our everyday life.

We struggle to fit in just to belong.

Why the struggle?

The battle to conform to these standards does only one thing to us, it rubs us off our confidence and our belief in ourselves.

Our belief system has been structured to believe that there is an accepted look, size, style, personality, class, life achievements, etc and once we do not fall under those categories, we are inferior, not enough or qualified, and thus the struggle begins, the struggle to do all that we can to fit in and belong.

Take an innocent plum girl whose dream is to become an air hostess or a ballet dancer, growing up to the shock that only slim built girls are employed as air hostesses or become ballet dancers, imagine the disappointment.  Yet we have women who have defied those beliefs and standards and have gone on to make a success of their dreams.

Women such as Okonjo Iweala – Director-General of the World Trade Organization

So what is the key to that success story?

Confidence and belief.

There is no height that an individual cannot attain.

The mind is the power seat of our beliefs,  it is what controls our output in life.

To retrace back to that childlike innocence where we believed without an ounce of doubt, there is a great need to overhaul our mindset. A need to unlearn and reject all of the standards that are cast upon us which is a far cry from who we are.

 So how do we handle the pressure to fit in without losing ourselves just because we want to belong?

Cushioning the pressure to fit in.

1. Personal development programs

Take up personal development programs, this would expose and open your eyes to truths about you you never knew existed. Such truths would help to position you in making decisions that are internal and not external.

2. You are unique

Know that you are unique and no one else has your essence. There is a reason you are made or built the way you are. There is beauty in diversity and you can achieve anything once you put your mind to it.

3.Love yourself.

The truth is that people would address you the way you address yourself. Accept and love yourself. There is beauty in being confident; it’s an air of positivity and attraction once you understand it. Boldly stand for your style, the rest of the world would adjust.

4.Dictate your path and pace.

Your life is yours to live, so decide and choose what you want in life, let your only competitor be you, do not allow the journey of others to pressure you into losing your peace of mind just because you want to fit in and belong. Define what your success is

5.Be firm.

Do not be tossed about with new winds of culture or societal change. Stand firm in your beliefs and values, learn how to say no to doing things that do not conform to your values.

6.Do things for yourself.

Make life-changing decisions for you and not for anyone else. If you feel the need to lose weight, do it because you want to, because it makes you feel good, because of your health.

If following a new fad is giving you a sleepless night then know that you are being put under pressure to fit in.

It is about time you started living life according to your terms.

Chinenye Audrey Nri
Chinenye Audrey Nri is a banker, a co-anchor on the D-Sabi podcast, and a seasoned content writer who likes to describe herself as a soul writer as she writes from her heart, challenging her readers to become better versions of themselves. She is passionate about helping businesses, professionals and individuals build their confidence level for profitable engagements. An author, her latest book offering is titled - THE FAT BEAUTIFUL GIRL.