“Admit it, You aren’t like them” is the beginning of a wonderful passage by Timothy Leary illustrated beautifully in this Zen Pencils cartoon and explained here.
[I’ve included the full passage below, which means that this post is not nearly as long as the word count makes it appear!]
I first heard that passage during the final episode of a hockey podcast (yes, really). I’ve thought about it many times over the past few months, and in fact, I choose “others” as one of my theme words for 2018.
I’m sharing this story now because this can be the time of year when we feel the pressure to conform and do what we ‘should’ do. Families are particularly good at reminding us when we aren’t conforming to expectations; aren’t they?
We often enter a new year feeling as if we need to change to more closely resemble whatever we think that our life ‘should’ be.
As I’ve said repeatedly, there’s nothing wrong with changing your life if the changes bring you closer to what you want. But if you are changing because you feel that you need to conform to a life script, I want you to remember this other important line in that passage: “everyone carries a piece of the puzzle”.
If we are comparing and wondering why we are not like ‘them’, this is a reminder that we aren’t like ‘them’ for a reason.
If we are hiding who we really are in an effort to ‘fit in’, we aren’t helping complete the puzzle.
Instead of trying to fit in by conforming, we need to remember that no two puzzles pieces are exactly the same. Even if the shapes are similar, the picture is always slightly different.
Here’s what I am focusing on this year: the puzzle can only be completed if everyone accepts and lives their own journey.
I commit to being the piece of the puzzle that I was meant to be. In doing so, I hope to see the bigger picture and find the others.
Here are Timothy Leary’s words: “Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.”