You don’t need to be a visible minority to feel like an outsider in life. It’s our weirdness, nuances, the subtle quirks and differences that we all have, which makes us unique. No one is normal, we all have our own differences that we’ve inherited in our lives.
These differences are what makes us feel like an outsider. Some may be obese, from a different country, or be left handed, etc. Others may have disabilities or handicaps, or those who are freakishly talented or physically beautiful, can also feel like an outsider.
Being an outsider means not fitting in with the norm. This is different from being part of a group, such as deciding to become a vegetarian or choosing to hang with those having the same hobbies, as these are decisions that are strictly up to us.
Part Of A Group
Choosing to be part of a group has its perks, such as increased social status or peer acceptance. They know who they are, that they’re part of the gang, a “tribe.”
They know that others will stand by them, stand up for them. Through this group, what they’ve picked up are certain behaviors and characteristics that’s inherent of the group.
Outside Looking In
But being an outsider, being a minority such as being born into a certain religion or race is different from being part of a group as the choice wasn’t theirs. These minorities are still considered a group however.
Outsiders generally need to work harder to be accepted by their peers. They need to be more flexible and perceptive, and follow the rules more precisely, this because they visually stand out.
They need to show more respect, tow the line better while being squeaky clean. Outsiders need to adhere closer to the “code,” the morals of conduct while not breaking them.
Need To Be More Aware
Outsiders need to be more aware of the powerful, be more aware of the quirks, the moods of others as by default, because of their differences, they’ll usually be picked on, appointed first, or be completely ignored, this because they look different.
This is partially the explanation when there are complains of gender differences, as some women will continue to feel that they’re treated as a minority, not getting the same opportunities that their male counterparts do.
Just Trying To Fit In
Outsiders need to be more aware of identifying mistrust or misunderstanding. Having a different accent, skin color, a unique look, or just wearing different clothing means that they’ll stand out.
They’re subtly reminded that they don’t fit in, this since others don’t want to appear racist or sexist. So what they’ll do is mask their true attitudes and beliefs regarding these outsiders.
Being more aware has its advantages, making the savvy outsider more perceptive and shrewd, reading others and their signals better. This becomes useful when it comes to negotiating or persuading others.
More Awareness And Understanding
Another advantage is understanding and then adapting to their immediate environmental situations better, as learning by imitating is superior to learning from instruction.
There are foreigners for instance, who at times has a better command of the English language, this much better than what their fellow native English speakers have.
To learn all of the various rules and nuances is to understand what their functions are, along with their history. What this offers is better insight, this into why things are done the way they are. What this does is it makes the outsider more informed and adaptable.
The Need To Be More Versatile
Outsiders are usually more dynamic. Those who are bilingual or bi-cultural has more options. They have the benefit of different backgrounds to choose from, this to get the best qualities from both worlds.
This similar to we having a choice of computer operating systems. We can choose from either Microsoft or Apple. We can make comparisons while the end objectives are the same. We can also move between systems, or use them for different purposes.
Outsiders Adapt Quicker
Some outsiders after a period of time are capable of adapting to become an insider themselves, and will usually succeed. They’ll assimilate themselves by losing their accent, or wear appropriate clothing, while adopting the same ideologies and lingo.
What they learn is to transform themselves, this by overcoming what their roots are, making the sacrifices to become an insider. Those who pass themselves off as someone who they’re not, however, needs to work harder to keep up their image.
They need to continuously learn and update their knowledge, this if they’re wanting to remain part of the group, by staying alert of all the changes, which is all natural instinct for the insiders.
Or Remain Unique
Some will just choose to remain who and how they are, to remain an outsider and be proud of it. Rejoice being different by acknowledging what their roots are.
Some will just choose to proudly remain on the outside and be okay with it. They’ll just choose to completely ignore all of the social norms followed by others, and do their own thing.
There’s also the option of alternating back and forth, choosing to be an insider one day, then an outsider the next. This can become confusing however, as others have no idea who they’re representing on a certain day.
It Is What It Is
The best solution it’s found is to find middle ground somewhere, to embrace who you are while being a mediator of sorts, an interpreter of different ideals.
Those who do so are proud of their outsider status, as they’re also able to adapt as an insider. They’ve learned to become versatile and convertible, embracing everyone.