Longing to Belong

I just finished reading a book called, “Daring Greatly” by Brene’ Brown.  It was an enlightening book for me.  It gave me lots to think about, lots to work on, and has changed my perspective on things.  I want to talk about one passage from the book;

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing.  In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers of belonging.  Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted.  Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” p. 231-2

I have been thinking about this a lot and trying to assess this in my own life.  When I have been in social situations, at home, and during play groups I have be mindful of the way I am feeling and the way I interact with others.  I also associated fitting it with being with the cool kids and all that jazz, but I never really understood that what I was craving and searching for was belonging.  I am really bad at fitting in, truthfully.  Case in point, I remember when I was around 12 and I was invited to a neighborhood friend’s birthday sleep over party.  I was so excited, but I was also terrified.  I didn’t feel like I fit in to begin with but was so excited to feel like I might.  But when the silly things started, like the first one asleep gets their bra frozen, the second one asleep gets shaving cream on their face, and so on…I didn’t want to fit in I just wanted to hide so none of those things would happen to me.  I remember my introvert self feeling more and more uncomfortable but not wanting to say anything because I wanted to fit in.  I played around for awhile but after being with a bunch of girls all night and not sleeping, I wasn’t in the best of moods.  I went to the extreme…to get away for a little while I went and sat on the stairs.  I didn’t understand then that I was over stimulated as an introvert and that all my stores of being social were on empty, I just knew I needed some space.  Well, that backfired because that drew attention to me and then I had to seriously deplete my store of being social and fitting in.  I didn’t do a very good job at fitting in, but have longed to.  But now, I know the difference.  I have been longing to belong, to be accepted for who I am.  I am an introvert, bookworm, soccer loving, sports watching, loyal, friend who would much rather have a “sleepover” with one or two friends and talk about meaningful things.

It our society, especially with social media, we always want to fit it, look our best, and make everything look effortless.  Well, my friends what we really need to do is turn to our families, our good friends and talk with them in person.  Be present with them, give the gift of belonging- to them- and you will feel the gift of belonging for you.

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