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The Folly of Fitting In

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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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.

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