Find More Ways to Be an Outsider

Find More Ways to Be an Outsider

So many of us feel like outsiders, like we’re different.

If we realised how many felt like this we might realise that we’re all different and we’re all alone … together!

It’s OK to feel like this but it helps to realise we’re not alone; more people understand than we sometimes think. And finding ways to feel more comfortable within all these thoughts and emotions can be very helpful …

via the Atlantic by Arthur C Brooks

he world is full of outsiders: students away at a university far from home, immigrants to a new country, and people who go abroad for work or extended travel. Over the past year, more than 4.4 million American workers quit their jobs in the “Great Resignation,” and many of them became outsiders by joining a different company or moving to a new place, which they perhaps imagined might be friendlier to their personal needs and tastes.

But just because a journey to the unfamiliar was voluntary doesn’t make it easy: Being an outsider can be lonely and difficult, especially if all the strangers around you seem to know and understand one another. Your instincts might tell you that uprooting yourself was a terrible decision, that the benefits you sought are much smaller than the costs you are bearing. You might even wonder if you’ll ever be happy again.

The truth is, however, you almost certainly did not make a mistake. There is little evidence that being an outsider creates long-term problems for happiness or lowers your chance of success; on the contrary, people thrust between places and cultures tend to develop strength, flexibility, and resiliency. Being an outsider may be one of the best investments you will ever make, and you should embrace it, pain and all.

Scholars have studied outsiders, including immigrants, refugees, students, and foreign workers, to understand the long-term effects on well-being and personal success. Some of the most illuminating work has focused on so-called third-culture kids (TCKs): children who grow up outside their parents’ home culture and, as a result, are influenced partially by their parents’ home culture and partially by the culture in which they live, but mostly relate to a “third culture” made up of fellow sojourners. The term was coined in the 1960s by the sociologists Ruth Hill Useem and John Useem in studies of people who grow up in, for example, missionary and military families.

A lot of older theories of philosophy and psychiatry would predict tough outcomes for outsiders, especially TCKs—and indeed, would recommend against being one if you can avoid it. In Laws, Plato argued that people should not even travel abroad before age 40, and that visitors be restricted to port areas of cities to minimize their contact with citizens. He believed that acculturation—the psychological change that occurs when a person blends into an unfamiliar culture—was damaging to one’s sense of self. Plato’s reasoning carried on into the mid-20th century, and was shared by such eminent psychologists as Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, and Carl Rogers…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE