TED Conversations

Melissa Darnley

This conversation is closed.

Have you ever felt like you don't belong in your family, group of friends, culture, or country? If so why?

Being a college student, I find myself surrounded by a lot of diversity with classes to take, classmates that are potential friends, and future paths I could take. But among all of the choices and options, I find myself out of place, not in the loop, an outsider to all of my friends and peers. I seem to fit in with my friends and then I don't, I seem to be very good at a particular subject in school then I am not good enough for it. I fit in and I don't, a paradox that has always perplexed me.

I know I am not alone in this, but it feels like very few people I talk to understand my position. And being a student about to set foot into the real world, I am not sure what to do.

Share:
  • Dec 21 2011: I can take it one step further. Sometimes I feel I do not even belong on the planet. The reason is because I see so many negative factors in the world such as homelessness, war, and crimes of every nature that sometimes I am ashamed to be part of the human species. I also know that each of us throughout life experience identity crisis, sometimes several times. If you want my honest opinion I believe it is the constant war between the body and the soul. We strive for inner peace yet the body is influenced by so many external factors that the soul becomes restless and it constantly seeks inner peace. The body and soul therefore tear us apart and leaves us thinking and wondering who we really are. You must find inner peace often for your soul in order to reduce the identity crisis even when the external body is constantly influenced by external factors.
  • thumb
    Dec 11 2011: I can only speak from personal experience.
    I have no formal training, be receptive to what I suggest, allow plenty of time to consider what I say. It can be difficult to admit when we think we are the only ones. I have experienced feelings of not fitting, not belonging, as if I live and work behind enemy lines.... It sounds like paranoia, doesn't it? It is an inability to trust, plus a false sense of having a need to trust. I have shared my feelings and thoughts about this on many occasions, with several different people. For myself, I have come to believe this is a phenomena developing in formative years when we live in brief moments of 'not completely loveable', times when a very conditional love is expressed to us by people we love and respect. When you realize that in order to satisfy parents, siblings, or friends it is important to be someone other than who you are, you have been offered conditional love. Conditional love causes people to question themselves, their worth, and their ability to love themselves. This also happens when we are scolded, shamed, ridiculed or physically struck, or "corrected". Depending on the severity of emotional abuse someone endures will determine the amount of self-doubt they experience. People who grow in healthy homes (don' worry, it is only 3% of the population) never stop to consider whether they fit in or not, They seldom question self love. Most people have doubts, You have been loved and are having only shadow glimpses of doubt. You are one of the few brave ones to be honest and ask. That is evidence of a very beautiful person who is willing to examine thier life because they want a quality life. I commend you, for that. The love and acceptance you need most, is from yourself. I have much respect for you and your question. Keep up the good work and you will go far. I wish you the most in all you do, Melissa.

    This has been based on my personal experience. Maybe it has no personal application here
  • thumb
    Dec 4 2011: stepping into the real world i think you should master your ambitions whatever they may be, and network with as many people as possible. when you become the expert in a subject or you make it clear to your friends what it is that you stand for, theyll let you know if they see any opportunuies that could benefit you. however i wouldnt recommend isolating yourself from people, unless their beliefs or the way they act is corrosive to the image of who you want to be.
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2011: I understand what you are going through. Right now I am a senior in high school and quite frankly the people that surround me literally make me sick to my stomach. As strange of a decision as it may be, I purposely isolate myself. I had a group of close friends that loved me, but truth be told I slowly started to notice that they stood for everything that I was against. That as you can imagine ate away at me quite a bit, so now I spend most of my time alone. The strangest part of it all was that people considered me quite the extrovert for a while.

    However, I am happy. I am not sure if this could work for you (it certainly did for me) but maybe when you stop seeking to belong, then you will truly find what you are looking for. Embrace being an outsider and those who think likewise will find you...or maybe not. Then again I am a nutjob (which I am perfectly happy about) so take my words with a grain of salt
  • thumb
    Dec 2 2011: i can relate to u very closely. i to am a college student and goin through the same situation lol. what i can say though is that ultimitly u create your own destiny in life. u have got to realize that family, friends, society and culture are manifested through people and regardless they r all people. As far as the lil info u shared i think its an inner subconcious struggle u have with yourself. I have and had to overcome this myself. U must believe in yourself tha, to quote a couple of songs i wrote, u see that u "create your own odyssey of time." Also u must say "its my life and ill take everyone down this pathway with me, so long as they want to come along for the ride. Its my life and ill lead everyone down this tunnel with me, so long as they choose to be right by my side." i hope i could have been a helping hand.
  • Dec 2 2011: Melissa
    My advice to you is go forth and be yourself. Yes, "being out of place" is hard. I have experienced it several times in life. Find yourself and you will find your place.
  • thumb
    Dec 23 2011: I too have felt this way many times. For me, it is hard because I feel I am always changing and evolving, growing into the person I want to be and yet falling into old habits of my past. Sometimes I feel as though I fit in really well, and yet other times I just think I am creating a sense of comfort for myself and am never sure if it is true. I want to be optimistic about things I am doing and feel that it is "me", yet it is hard. I feel like who I am changes a lot and very quickly. I think many college students feel this way but it is hard to explore deeply with others without seeming lost.
  • Dec 19 2011: You may think that your not particularly good at anything but I bet your imagination is where youd rather be.
  • thumb
    Dec 2 2011: It's a fairly common reaction when someone is faced with new and varied information and viewpoints. It takes time to understand whether one agrees / is comfortable with the new concepts which appear to be taken for granted by the new group - or to decide that there are certain areaswhere you don't want to adopt the group assumptions and to develop the confidence to stand by that decision.