What To Do When You Don’t Fit In

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in to a place you loved?

It’s a very strange feeling.

I tend to fall in love fast. I believe I can find something in common with anyone. That’s true for a cocktail party. It’s not true for longterm relationships.

Eventually we resist values and beliefs that are different than ours. It’s why you won’t have the same friends for your whole life. It’s why you won’t keep the same job forever. It’s even why some marriages don’t work out. Any time you quickly jump into a relationship you run the risk of waking up one day feeling like an outcast in a relationship that you love.

I’m currently reading Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I can’t recommend this book enough. I’m resonating deeply with the themes and ideas throughout the book.

Sinek writes, “We’re friends with people who see the world the way we see it, who share our views and our belief set. No matter how good a match someone looks on paper, that doesn’t guarantee a friendship.”

According to Sinek we do better in cultures that reflect our own values and beliefs.

Now one of the reasons this is so fascinating to me is because of what so often drives our decision making process.

Our needs or feelings are often what drive us to make decisions.

My pastoral coach always says, “When desperation rises standards fall.”

So when a person needs a job they see things based off their needs. Does the job provide for their needs?

When a person feels lonely they see the start of a relationship based off their needs. Does a person meet their immediate needs?

When a person joins a church, often the question is, does this church meet my needs?

So a lonely person may wake up next to a person they don’t have a lot in common with because a need was met.

An employee may wake up realizing he/she doesn’t agree with the direction of the company, but they joined because the company met a need.

A church member may resist the leadership of a pastor because they so love the church, but don’t support the pastor’s vision. I recently heard about a church split where a group was kicked out because they refused to leave. The issue was the group didn’t support the pastor’s understanding of the Bible. It was dysfunctional. Someone had to leave, but no one was willing to because everyone loved the church.

You should be friendly to all, but you won’t be great friends with everyone. The people you will connect the most with will be the ones who share your same values and beliefs.

Now, you can change your values and beliefs. But if you ever find yourself in a position where you are not willing to change your values and beliefs and they don’t match your environment you are in trouble.

Conflict arises when one or both people are not willing to submit to the beliefs of the other person.

There are certain things that I believe. Currently I’m working on defining these things clearly. Knowing them helps me know what culture I’m creating at Next Level.

It also helps me understand that not everyone will connect with what I believe and value.

So if you wake up and feel you don’t fit in with a place you love look at the beliefs and values. Do they align with who you are? If not, that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you. There is also nothing wrong with the place where you are at. The key is to find a place that shares what you value. Trying to change someone rarely works out.

And for future relationships dig into what they truly value. If you value friends that hang out all the time, but a new friend values friendships that don’t have to hang out much to be close, you will have a problem.

If you are searching for a new church make sure you dig into what they value. If they value reaching the lost and expanding, but you value going deep and staying the same you will have problems.

If you are single, and searching for a mate don’t settle for what looks good on paper. Find out what they value. If they value a messy house, no kids, and a loose schedule, but you value OCD, 18 kids and counting, and a tight schedule then you will have problems.

Most of our problems stem from wanting people to value what we do, and when they don’t we paint them as a bad guy. It’s why relationships that were once good end in toxicity.

You can have acquaintances that don’t share your same values, but those that are close to you will share your values or you will struggle. The key is to define what you value most. Once that happens you’ll find people who share your same beliefs and values. Until then you’ll try to change people for who they are, and you will become bitter when they won’t submit to your ways.

It’s why some friendships seem so easy and others take so much work. The ones you are closest to are the ones who share your same values. It doesn’t mean you are a snob and ignore people that are different than you. It just means you now understand why some relationships sour and some struggle no matter how much time you put into them.

What are your thoughts about all of this? How have you seen this play out in your relationships?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

7 Comments

  1. Karen
    May 2, 2017

    There is a lot of information in this blog to digest. Thank you for writing it. I love books and look forward to adding another book to my library so I can more fully understand the meaning of everything here. But it’s good that I can be me. 🙂

    Reply
    • May 4, 2017

      Karen, thanks for the comment. If you have any questions for clarification feel free to ask.

      Reply
  2. Michele
    May 2, 2017

    I am currently struggling to accept that I have to let go of a relationship that I have held dear for a long time. Our values are so different now that it simply does not work. I pray that that might change some day. But I am working on being at peace with the situation in the here and now. GREAT post, Rob!! And it is crazy timely for me. I hope to read the book about which you wrote.

    Reply
    • May 4, 2017

      Thanks for sharing Michele. It’s difficult when relationships change. Sometimes the relationship will never go back to the way it was. Sometimes over time the relationship will be re-established, but it will take on a new form. I’m truly sorry that the relationship you are dealing with isn’t working.

      Reply
  3. Mary W
    May 3, 2017

    Interesting thoughts, Rob. I agree for the most part, but I also think we can do ourselves a diservice by only surrounding ourselves with those who see things the way we do.

    Sometimes we need others perspectives, or we run the risk of only seeing things the way we do; only validating others and their experiences if they have been our own. We may even refuse to see or heed a warning that others see. (Random side note, but I have thought before, would people like Elvis or Prince have lived longer if they had people in their inner circle who challenged them? Were they only surrounded by those who agreed with them?)

    I do agree that my closest friendships share core values. Some of those people though are very different from me and think differently, but we focus on what we have in common and sometimes agree to disagree on other things. I think it would be boring if all my friends were exactly like me.

    Reply
  4. May 4, 2017

    Mary, great thoughts!!!

    I agree completely. I’m not trying to change your mind or disagree with you, but I think we can accomplish both having a diverse group of people and have people that share our values.

    Let me see if I can phrase it in a different way. Values and beliefs don’t mean you will agree with everything someone does. But there are some values and beliefs that, unless one or both people are willing to submit they won’t work out.

    I knew that when I worked at WEC I needed to show up on time to a meeting and even early when I could. I don’t have the same values of time (If I’m there 5 minutes late I believe I’m on time), but I chose to submit because I was under authority. If I didn’t submit and fought against what the boss valued it would have caused division and bitterness.

    So for Next Level there have been times where people came loving the church, but after a while they found out what they really valued, and sometimes that value isn’t something we value. Specifically with a type of preaching style or song selection. If someone values the hymns of the church they grew up in they may miss that at Next Level. They aren’t wrong and we aren’t right. We value something different. When you share what you value it leads to sticking with companies, friends, or churches when drama happens.

    We tend to stick it out with people we share the same values and beliefs. Drama and conflict happen no matter what. Different opinions should be welcomed or, like you mentioned, people are left alone to make dumb choices (Elvis). I don’t want yes people around me, but I want people who value reaching the unchurched, doing whatever it takes to create environments where people can engage with God, are hungry to learn, and seek coaching. I value those things deeply. If someone doesn’t, when they get frustrated they will try to change me. The change isn’t because it’s what’s best for me or Next Level. The change is because they value something different. At that moment if I don’t change they will become bitter…unless they are willing to change.

    Does that help clarify at all?

    Reply
    • Mary W
      May 4, 2017

      Yes, I agree with you! I really appreciate the environment you have at Next Level and welcoming those that may feel unwelcome elsewhere.
      Keep up the good work, Rob!

      Reply

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