In my lifelong quest for belonging, I spent years (f’n years) trying to fit in. And year after year I found myself feeling lonely and more disconnected the more that I “tried”. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, I tried so hard to give people what they wanted and I never really thought of the concept of belonging as anything other than fitting in. I had no idea that belonging was something I needed to do for myself, that no one or no group could give it to me.
In Brene Brown’s research on belonging (ummmm I kinda sorta totally LOVE Brene btw!) she asked a large group of eighth graders to define belonging…here is what they said:
- Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other.
- Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
- If I get to be me I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.
This, along with countless other pieces of data she has collected on belonging, shame and authenticity, led her to her definition of True Belonging:
it requires us to BE who we are.
Throughout her book Braving the Wilderness, Brene refers to a quote by the profound and deliberate author, poet, sage Maya Angelou, which states:
So, I ask you…how do you go about “being” who you are? Do you feel like you truly belong… somewhere… everywhere… nowhere?
All good things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!
PS Check out my first In Her Element Motivate – HER Monday video HERE . It’s a great discussion about belonging, fitting and authenticity!