This one is for all those who feel slightly out of place.
Growing up, I always felt different. I’m sure I’ve written about this many times. I always felt a sense of mis-belonging. Like the lyrics in Moana, “I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try”, “where I long to be”, “maybe I can roll with mine”.
Growing up in a developed city like Singapore, everything is in place. Everyone just needs to do their own things and you will be all right. I know plenty of people who are happy here. I know plenty of others wanting to move here. I am beyond grateful to be born here. But no matter how hard I try to be content with just being one of the cogs in the machine, I long to be somewhere. I try to roll with the pace, the flow in the waves, the cog in the machine. But I keep going to where it calls out to me.
And what’s that? I have clarity now, of course. But before that, it was the vast unknown. Like Moana setting out to the ocean to find her calling. I lived from countries to countries, searching for my calling and following the voice. It took me to be ages at where I am at, and I’m still learning and growing. But this is a life I never want to change, not in any single way.
So this one is for those who feel different, those who feel like a fish out of water, those who struggle to fit in.
You don’t have to fit in. If you want to follow the voice inside, be prepared to be the bravest you have ever been, optimistic despite all the setbacks and courageous to keep moving forward. A good sword is built through fire.
I choose this path every single day. I still choose it every morning when I wake up. Some days may feel terrible, but it just lasts for a couple of hours max. When I consciously make this decision every day, I also prepare myself to take on this challenge. Every day is a new challenge and adventure, and it takes a certain personality and character to go through the resistance every day.
Steps To Embrace Difference
- Acknowledge that you are different. Acknowledgement is the first step to everything.
- Accept that you are different. Accept this knowledge. Often times, I see people acknowledging but not accepting. This can be hard. But accepting is just to understand and appreciate. We can choose to lean in or not, as in step 3.
- Either embrace the difference or appreciate and let the difference go away. The former continues to the next steps. The latter is to reduce oneself and be a cog in the machine. (Which is 100% NOT A PROBLEM!! That is totally 100% okay. It is okay to go with the flow. The society needs a variety of people.)
- If we embrace the difference, look deeper inside to understand how far you want to go. How big is the dream, how different you want to be, how much preparation is required, how long do you need. I started thinking about this when I was 15. And slowly discover the various aspects of myself and my being.
- Those are the easy steps. Now comes the real challenge. Make 1 step closer towards that goal every single day. The water is murky, and it’s okay. Take baby steps towards those goals. That means,
- Choose this path every single day
- Have a silly optimistic view of everything despite how hard things may seem
- Have the courage to keep going and move forward. Trust yourself, the naysayers are worth ignoring
- Build resilience to keep pushing despite the push back
- Believe in everything you do. And believe that everything will be alright. Because it really will be.
It’s not easy, but it’s going to be worth it. If it’s easy, everyone would be doing it now.
You’ll be alright.