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The Folly of Fitting In

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about the folly of fitting in. So there's a great story about this. One day, an old man, a boy, and a donkey are happily making their way to the nearest town. The boy was riding on the donkey and the old man was happily walking beside them.

As they went along, they passed some people who remarked that it was wrong that the old man was walking and the young boy was riding on the donkey. It should be the other way around they said. So the man and the boy took on what the critics said, changed their positions and continued on down the road. Soon enough, they passed a group of people who berated the old man. What a cruel thing to make that poor little boy walk.

In response to those critics, the boy and the old man both decided to walk. So a little later they passed a farm. People there said you have a perfectly good, strong donkey to ride. What are you doing? It can carry you both. You must be stupid.

So hearing this, they both jumped on and rode the donkey. And all was well until they came to the outskirts of town and people there shamed them saying, how could you be so awful as to put this big load on this poor little donkey? The boy and the man felt so bad that they hopped off the donkey, picked it up and carried it on there backs. And as they crossed the town bridge in quite a bizarre spectacle, trying to carry this donkey, they lost their balance, they lost their grip on the donkey and it fell into the river. So what's the moral of this story? If you try to fit in and please everyone all the time, you're probably going to lose your sanity, and in this case, also your donkey. We can probably all relate to this story in some way because we all share a common challenge.

The way that the human mind is wired from evolution means that we're always going to feel a strong pull to fit in, be liked and be part of the pack. But that internal pressure to fit in means that we will sometimes deny our own feelings and our own wisdom instead of listening to them. So sometimes we do something, even though it doesn't feel right, it doesn't make sense to us just because of other people's opinions. So part of the invitation of what mindful living is all about is really cultivating more self-trust and more authenticity. In other words, it helps us get more in touch with ourselves and teaches us to trust our own authority and our own direct experience rather than always relying on the opinions of others or the direction of others.

So the next time you find yourself feeling that pressure to conform, fit in or get others' approval, just remembering that we don't have to be defined by other people's expectations of us or the desire to fit in. Just trusting that you can be authentic, stand your ground in what feels wise and right for you in your heart. And most importantly, share the real you, the most authentic you with the world. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here in this community. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

The Folly of Fitting In

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about the folly of fitting in. So there's a great story about this. One day, an old man, a boy, and a donkey are happily making their way to the nearest town. The boy was riding on the donkey and the old man was happily walking beside them.

As they went along, they passed some people who remarked that it was wrong that the old man was walking and the young boy was riding on the donkey. It should be the other way around they said. So the man and the boy took on what the critics said, changed their positions and continued on down the road. Soon enough, they passed a group of people who berated the old man. What a cruel thing to make that poor little boy walk.

In response to those critics, the boy and the old man both decided to walk. So a little later they passed a farm. People there said you have a perfectly good, strong donkey to ride. What are you doing? It can carry you both. You must be stupid.

So hearing this, they both jumped on and rode the donkey. And all was well until they came to the outskirts of town and people there shamed them saying, how could you be so awful as to put this big load on this poor little donkey? The boy and the man felt so bad that they hopped off the donkey, picked it up and carried it on there backs. And as they crossed the town bridge in quite a bizarre spectacle, trying to carry this donkey, they lost their balance, they lost their grip on the donkey and it fell into the river. So what's the moral of this story? If you try to fit in and please everyone all the time, you're probably going to lose your sanity, and in this case, also your donkey. We can probably all relate to this story in some way because we all share a common challenge.

The way that the human mind is wired from evolution means that we're always going to feel a strong pull to fit in, be liked and be part of the pack. But that internal pressure to fit in means that we will sometimes deny our own feelings and our own wisdom instead of listening to them. So sometimes we do something, even though it doesn't feel right, it doesn't make sense to us just because of other people's opinions. So part of the invitation of what mindful living is all about is really cultivating more self-trust and more authenticity. In other words, it helps us get more in touch with ourselves and teaches us to trust our own authority and our own direct experience rather than always relying on the opinions of others or the direction of others.

So the next time you find yourself feeling that pressure to conform, fit in or get others' approval, just remembering that we don't have to be defined by other people's expectations of us or the desire to fit in. Just trusting that you can be authentic, stand your ground in what feels wise and right for you in your heart. And most importantly, share the real you, the most authentic you with the world. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here in this community. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

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