You don’t have to fit into society’s one-size-fits-all system

In my work with clients, we often explore the added layers of performing that cover up their authentic way of being.

Some layers of performing are necessary forms of civilization. However, some layers are constructed based on the belief that it was not enough to be ourselves.

In this article, I share my thoughts about these layers of performing that we add to our ways of doing and being and the layers that we cut out to fit societal molds.


Underdogs, misfits, and late bloomers

We are constantly modeled by ways of living, working, and being that impose the idea that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to live, work and be.

As a result of those visible societal norms, we can experience anxiety around expressing our qualities, capacities, and boundaries whenever they deviate from the ‘accepted’ standard.

We can get upset for not having the same capacity as other people (for example, introverted people who need more alone time to fill up their (social) batteries than more extraverted people).

We perceive some of our traits as less than (for example, modest, humble people are often perceived as less competent than assertive, confident people)

Even in our language, we have words for the so-called deviations. Those who do not seem to fit the system or follow the standard linear paths have gotten labels such as underdogs, misfits, or late bloomers.

What if it is not you but the system?

By labeling those who do not fit in the system, we create the idea that you are the problem and thus need to be fixed. But what if we could see ‘not fitting the mold’ as data about our systems and models instead of as a failure on our part?

What if, instead of pointing at the individual as the misfit, we could look at our existing systems and models?

Do they allow for diversity?

Do they allow for different ways of doing and being?

I think the answer is no. We are working with systems that are often ‘one size should fit all’ and allow little space for discovering our own paths or what would work for us.


Make the molds fit you.

Why change yourself to fit a narrow definition?
Why not broaden the definitions to include yourself?

I think we should not try to change ourselves to fit the mold.

Instead, we should widen the molds to allow everyone to fit in, just as they are.

Late bloomers are the ones who find their path on their schedule, in their own way.

Underdogs are the ones who may have other qualities than those that are put on a pedestal by society, but those qualities are not less than but just different. In the context of how our current systems are set up, they may be perceived as weaknesses, but that is not because there is inherently something wrong with those qualities.

If the systems and models do not work for you, it is not because there is something wrong with you but because they are not the suitable systems and models for you, since there is no one right way to live or be.

About me

Hi, I’m Lian Angelino, certified Career & Leadership coach who is passionate about helping women move through their career and daily life with more ease and meaning.

As a Career & Leadership coach, I combine my background in Work Psychology, (Mental)Health Sciences and Leadership development to help you get clear about what makes you tick and gain clarity around difficult career choices.

In this online space, I share work centered around embracing our full humanity in everything we do and the choices that we make in our daily lives.

Learn more about me here

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