You are a product of your environment. Individualism is a great concept, but in truth, we are who we are because of other people.

So be careful with whom you surround yourself with; friends – and even family members, especially those that you see on a regular basis, can have a ridiculous amount of influence on things like your values, the way you speak, and the way you come to view yourself.

The feeling of belonging somewhere – like your existence and your person are fully appreciated, flaws and all – this is one of the most precious feelings ever.

Some environments are toxic – suffocating and restrictive – and you may feel as though there is something inherently wrong with you if you do not conform to the expectations of those around you. But unless you are hurting people, there is nothing wrong with you. Self-improvement is a great thing to strive towards, but if there is a problem, it might just lie in your environment, and not in who you are.

Your people are out there somewhere; in order to find them, you may need to venture outside of your comfort zone. Perhaps they might not share all your likes and dislikes; you might even be significantly different to them. But wherever you feel free to be yourself, without an ounce of guilt or otherwise – that is where your home, your tribe, lies.

And always remember,

if you have to fold to fit in, it ain’t right. ~ Yrsa Daley-Ward 

Sadia Ahmed, 2018

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