May 1, 2014

How confusing is it? Fit in or belong or the same thing right? It’s not the same in fact the worst thing you can do to belong is to try to fit in!

Fitting in, is assessing situations and people, then changing yourself – looks, weight, likes and opinions in order to be with them and be part of their lives. Belonging letting yourself be seen and known as you really are your strengths, your weaknesses, your good and bad side. True belonging only happens when you allow the world to see your authentic, imperfect self to the whole world, so your sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. When we fit in we convince people we are something we are not, we present what we think they want to see and this is called being incongruent and boy is it hard word and downright depressing.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. It has been with us since we first walked upright, it is a primal need be with others for comfort, support and protection. Belonging helps us develop self confidence and helps us develop and idea of whom we are, without which we cannot perceive our worth and our self-worth is not internalized.  So you can see this need is so strong we will do anything to get it and that’s where fitting in comes in to the equation.

Being able to belong starts in childhood, were you encouraged to do what you were good at and not necessarily what parents and society expected? Were you accepted for yourself? No comments about weight loss, intelligence or what you should do with your life. If not you need to create a feeling of belonging for yourself and that is not always easy. But if you don’t you will always feel like you don’t quite fit in or belong wherever you may be.

The issue is if you want to belong you have to be vulnerable, you have to reach out, you have to be honest about your emotions, you have to stand out if that is what you really are – you have to be real. Be prepared to be involved with others, you have to meet them half way too, you need to talk through issues with family and friends not ignore them or withdraw because of them. Work on your self esteem through groups or individual counselling and accept that belonging works but it sometimes can hurt too. That’s real life and being real for you!

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