How many times have we been categorized and given labels by people around us?
How many times did we feel inadequate due to the standards imposed by the media, fashion industry, influencers, or social media apps?
Many times, we wondered if it was really worth alienating ourselves to please others by trying to conform to the rules of the game set forth by society, but in the end, we fell back into the old pattern of striving for approval and perfection.
“You’re too fat, too skinny, too old, too gay, and too different for being accepted.”
How many times have we heard these words, and for how long have they been playing in our brains and hearts?
A stained t-shirt, skinned knees, and dishevelled hair. You could spot me from miles among the other children all neatly dressed up for Sunday mass.
Although being the black sheep in my family caused me quite a few problems as a child, it also helped me develop what I now consider to be a very important life skill. I learned how to be myself.
Being who we are in a society that wants us all to be the same is not the easiest thing to do in life, because the pressure to follow a pre-written path weaves itself subtly but pervasively throughout our minds.
Society, social conditioning, and the expectations of family and teachers strongly influence us to identify with prepackaged models.
Blending into the crowd, cancelling out one’s individuality, and conforming to others probably involves less effort, less hassle, and maybe more friends while being ourselves, and feeling different, can come at the very high cost of being isolated by a group, branded as troublemakers or party-poopers.
But are we truly living, with all those labels stuck to our bodies, confining us into a box imposed by other people’s opinions and ways of perceiving us?
In short, no! Our time is now to get to know ourselves, accept who we are, and live the life we were created to lead.
If you are going through a hard time in your life, feeling unloved, unaccepted, and unworthy of belonging, know that you were designed in a perfect way.
There are times when labels we are given by others weigh on us like millstones and make it next to impossible for us to fly.
No matter our age, it is never too late to embrace who we are, free ourselves from the cage of judgement, and live with our heads held high, knowing that we are uniquely wonderful just as we are.
“Perhaps it has also happened to you to wake up one fine morning with the distinct impression that that day was indeed another day.
It happened to me when I realised, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was a black sheep, indeed a Black Sheep, with capital letters… What a morning that morning!
Not that one becomes a black sheep just like that, out of the blue.
You are born a black sheep, but sometimes it takes a while to realise it because the flock wants you white and for a while, you really do see yourself as white. But when you realise it, life changes from like this to like that and you just have to be proud of it.”
Andrea Valente, From the book: Un anno da pecora near