PEOPLE like to feel a sense of belonging as we tend to thrive in such environments. Belonging contributes to us feeling wanted, cared for, important and valued. If our sense of belonging is questioned then we can easily lose who we are, the part we play, the impact we make and our overall significance in life.
Have you had a time in your life where you felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole? For whatever reason you were not accepted and embraced. You felt out of your depth – whether in a new job, project, friendship group or a change of family dynamics. If we are not careful we can waste too much energy looking at our inner man and trying to identify why we are not a good fit. We can analyse and tear apart our character, mannerism, personality to try to make sense of it all.
Dr Brene Brown is a top researcher on vulnerability and empathy. I recently watched her Ted Talk video on Youtube and highly recommend it! One of her quotes stood out to me;
“No-one belongs here more than you.”
Simple but powerful.
There are many who are acutely aware when they are not easily embraced, listened to, given recognition and as a result they are likely to merge into the background. I have seen it and lived it first hand, more so throughout my teenage years. I never felt a sense of belonging at secondary (high) school. It was like I did not get the script, did not easily gel with my peers, did not flow with the ‘street talk’. I felt out of place, awkward and came to a stage where I just stopped trying. It was liberating to finally not care who did or did not welcome me into their group. I was at peace with who I was; an introvert who thought far more than she spoke, had her own mind and did not compromise her values in order to be accepted.
I have learnt that self-acceptance is the key to us having a sense of belonging. Only when we first accept ourselves, ‘flaws and all’, are we confident to bring authenticity to any environment we find ourselves in.
Instead of walking into a room and wondering who will speak to us, why not walk into a room and wonder which person we would like to approach. Same situation, completely different mindset!