When was the first time you felt like you belonged somewhere? Does the memory push you all the way back to your childhood? Your family? Elementary school?
When was the last time you felt like you didn’t belong? Was it recent? Were you embarrassed? Sad? Lonely? Afraid?
Are you part of a group, a team, a school, a club, a crew, a tribe, a family, a religion, a generation or a community? Of course you are. We are all affiliated in some way to a collection of others with a common interest or bond. Humans have a need for inclusion and connection. We fear and avoid isolation. So we join. We conform. We wear the uniform. We know the handshake, the secret knock on the door and the private password.
We are taught to mirror the actions and mannerisms of another person so they accept us as a reflection of themselves. We want acceptance and approval. We want to fit in. It is why as a teenager you may have tasted your first beer when you were at a party with friends. You probably hated it but kept sipping it until the taste was tolerable. You felt like you belonged. You felt like you were part of the cool kids.
We mimic the actions of others because we don’t feel worthy to be accepted and included unless we do. We adapt and accept the expectations that the group has for us to be a member.
Some of this is necessary. In kindergarten we learned how to stand in line, raise our hand, wait our turn and share in order to function in a space of civility and kindness. As we grew, we learned the basics of polite and compassionate living to be accepted as a member of our human society.
For many people the need to belong is an instinct - a requirement for human survival. It can push us to act in ways that feel uncomfortable or are out of character. When we bend and mold ourselves to be such a contorted version of who we are that we don’t recognize our own reflection in the mirror, it becomes a problem.
What if we could be ourselves? Our crazy, goofy, wild authentic self?
What if we looked at each other not with our eyes, but with our hearts? Can you drop the expectation you hold for yourself and others and be open to the exploration of who YOU are… of who THEY are?
Stand in your own light and learn to accept yourself. Find the people who will see YOU and love YOU. You may lose some people from your life who only liked you for who you were pretending to be. But when you step into your light and let yourself free to be who you really are, you will attract the people who should be standing with you. You will attract the people that love and adore the real you. You won’t have to work so hard to fit in. You will finally feel like you belong in a way you never have before.
Pennie’s Life Lesson: When you allow yourself to be the authentic person you really are, you will attract the people you are meant to be with.
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