If you’d asked me that at the beginning of this journey, would’ve said no way. I treasure my individuality, and sometimes even take a little pleasure in going against the grain. Yet time and time again, I found myself in situations that pitted the two against each other, including:
Our department staff meetings, when I eat bananas when everyone else was passing around those holiday bags of bite-sized chocolates.
The APWA Center for Sustainability meeting in Kansas City, when the group went to an Italian restaurant. I had food in my room that I actually preferred over Italian, but I hated to miss the social part of dinner. I knew there was nothing there I would want to eat, and I didn’t want to just sit there for two hours and sip on water, but I felt like a weirdo.
At work when I’m enjoying my afternoon light soy milk and my boss playfully, but loudly asks “What’s wrong with milk?”
Check out this great post from Huffington Post’s Mindful Living blog, Five Ways Our Need to Fit in Controls Us. Author Michael Taft lists five proven ways that we bend over backwards to be part of the group, even when we don’t want to. The article doesn’t provide any strategies for handling these situations, it does help us to understand why we so often feel anxiety about wanting to fit in.
I find that of the five, peer pressure is definitely my weak spot. Like Taft says, nobody likes to be the odd one out. I experience this most at work, whether it’s having fruit in the staff meeting or declining cupcakes that someone brings. It’s not horrible, and it’s worth every second of very mild discomfort to be 90-something lbs. lighter. I’m learning to deal with it by laughing it off, bringing healthier food to share and/or celebrating my difference.
Question: Which of the five is your weak spot? Where do you experience it the most? How do you deal with it?