In response to my piece Know Ledge, about knowing what we need to know at all times, my friend asked, “Why do we feel so alone?” . And I knew exactly what she meant. I spent so very many years feeling grief over the loneliness I felt in my bones. And this is what I said to my friend, “That is the longing for belonging”. Deeper down, we truly wish to belong to ourselves.
There is an immense difference between fitting in and belonging. I discovered this concept in Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and it made such sense out of so many painful life moments for me. When we try to fit in, we are being untrue to ourselves. We are trying to coerce others to like us for who we think they want us to be. And in the process, we can’t trust them for liking us because we aren’t being authentic. It’s stressful and fear based.
When we create a sense of belonging, we join with people who accept us for who we truly are. We show them ourselves, what makes us us, and they like/love us for what we are. There’s an element of risk here in that, when we show our underbellies, we can get rejected or kicked for who we are. We risk being cast out of the tribal circle. But the truth we don’t see is that, there’s a better circle for us somewhere out there where they will never cast us out no matter what because we are worthy and belong there. We just have to take the time to accept ourselves to them find the people who reflect this.
And so at the very base of belonging is the absolute necessity to accept ourselves as we are. We are fallible and human and there is beauty and ugly all wrapped up in the same skin just like everyone else. We are not trustworthy if we do not at least claim most of what we are. It is a dance but once we risk putting our truer face on and claim what we are, the belonging just happen. We magnetically attract like people to us. And we see that we belong in our own skin and accept ourselves for who we are.
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