It’s all about popular! It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed, so it’s very shrewd to be, very very popular, like me!
Popular from Wicked
I make no excuse for quoting Wicked lyrics again, it’s a wonderful musical and this song resonates for me and, I think, many people. The character is a popular schoolgirl, educating or ‘making over’ another girl, who stands out as different, in order to increase her popularity and thus to make her life easier. She promises, “You’ll mix with the right cohorts, be good at sports, know the slang you’ve got to know”.
In many ways she has a point, life can be easier if we fit in, don’t rock the boat, have good popularity ratings. Yet at what price?
I was impacted by Susan Cain’s talk on the Power of Introverts and it led me to remember the bookish, weird, introvert I was once, many years ago before I learned that this isolated me and that extroversion helped my social relationships. So around the age of 14 I engaged in personality change which alleviated the painfulness of isolation and difference.
I highly recommend this link, I’d like everyone to listen to it. I, like Susan Cain, became skilled at extroversion. I wonder if at times I over did it a bit? I realised that I needed people and social relationships, and so relationships became my speciality, my focus. I no longer wished to do without. As time went on, solitude called again, and so over time I learned I needed time alone and time with others and I have begun to regain a balance. As a therapist, I have understood that the fear of enforced isolation if I don’t focus on relationships was strong as a teen, but how pleasurable it is to realise I am no longer a teen and isolation, enforced or chosen, does not destroy me.
I no longer need to be popular! I can cope with disapproval. The world doesn’t end because some of my blogs have spelling or grammar mistakes, or if I go away on my own for a while. I can be introverted and extroverted as suits me, and I no longer need to disguise my difference.
What if people are less able to disguise their individuality, have less choice, for example, their skin colour, or their sporting ability, their dyslexia (or different brain wiring)? What hoops might they feel they have to jump through to be accepted? Or might it be that they become able to embrace and enjoy their difference?
For my part, I am enjoying moving between private and public, introverted and extroverted behaviour, silence and noise, solitude and loving relationships. Finding my needs and responses moment to moment, being led by what I need, rather than being led by fears of isolation or of criticism or rejection if I join in. In Gestalt we call this awareness, so I am aware of when habits compel me, when fears compel me and when I choose. As I increase this awareness, it seems I have an increased experience of choiceful living as opposed to habitual and fearful living.