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Why Try to Fit In?

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Why Try to Fit In?

It’s more fun to rock the boat!
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D. More by this author
Apr 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM

In today's world, it's so common to want to fit in and be part of the flock, blend in, mask your feelings and censor your thoughts so that you don't rock the boat. Unfortunately, there are health consequences to wearing a mask, and like the Lone Ranger, always trying to be brave and cool as a cucumber.

So what are the benefits from occasionally taking off that mask of coolness and stand apart from the crowd? For one reason, taking a stand and putting away the happy face creates social change. It changes your life and the lives of people around you.

I remember that time around 9/11. The whole country was in an intensely paralyzing state of grief and terror. The first day that the airports opened, I decided to visit some friends and family in Nashville. Remember now, people were driving their cars around with American flags strapped to the radio antenna, and everyone in the United States was putting on this cool, courageous façade and stiff upper lip. Traveling in the United States the first day they opened the airports after 9/11 was a little weird. For one thing, the airports were really empty. The gates were empty. The crowds were all missing, and there was this eerie silence in the Philadelphia airport that was unnerving. The poor airport and airline personnel, their cheeriness was so obviously scripted and forced. They were all like caped crusaders, lone rangers and the other travelers who walked around were like automatons. We wordlessly walked to our gates.

There I sat in the Philadelphia airport at Gate C17, waiting for a flight to Nashville with six other people. No one said anything, everyone was stoic and pleasant. The stewardesses smiled, the gate agents were pleasantly happy, and everything was lah-dee-dah. The pilots walked by us, got onto the airplane, they looked cool as cucumbers.

Every once in a while, eyes would meet and then tensely look away. You could feel the undercurrent of terror and cut the tension with a knife. But everyone, the pilots, the stewardesses, the gate agents, the travelers, everyone, was masking their emotions, and no one was really going to acknowledge the unspoken truth that all of us were absolutely, terrified that there was possibly going to be another terrorist who could possibly hijack our plane, and drive it into some major building somewhere.

Then, as if this angel drops out of the sky, a woman enters into the gate, sits down, breathes this long dramatic sigh, nervous sigh. You could hear a pin drop; it was so silent that everyone heard the sigh. Then she opens her mouth and blurts, Well, I don't know about you people, but it's okay if they bomb this plane because I'm ready to meet my maker! The hysteria let it rip! This very stiff looking businessman beside her snapped out of his anesthetized pleasant coolness and shouted, Well I'm not ready to meet my maker! Everyone started laughing and talking about the tension of traveling on the first day the airports opened after 9/11. It was the best flight I had ever experienced.

The stewardesses heard about that lady who was ready to meet her maker, and the outburst really opened up the intimacy between everyone on board in this very tragic time.

This woman at Gate C17 created change in everyone else's life. Her comment gave voice to all of our tensions. Because she allowed herself to stand up among the stoic, sheep-like crowd, she helped us all name our terror and begin to move forward in a healthier way. If she had put on a happier face, censored her feelings, and blended in with the rest of the flock at gate C17, we'd have just moved through in lockstep for the rest of the flight, and maybe all gotten ulcers!

About Author
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz is one of those rare people who can cross the borders of intuition, science, medicine, and mysticism. An internationally known expert in Medical Intuition and Mind-Body Medicine, she h Continue reading