Fitting In or is It Belonging?
How do you fit in with people you want in your life? What does fitting in mean to you?
How do you fit in with the people you want to in your life? What does fitting in mean to you?
We all want to fit in or is it feel like we belong, to feel like we are part of a community, whichever community that is to us. To fit in is to be around people with similar interests and likes and we can adapt to be accepted, but to belong is because everyone wants you there, you are of value to them, you don’t have to change who you are, you can be your beautiful imperfect self .
Fitting in is not easy for some of us. I can fit in with most people and can easily make friends but I’ve had a lot of practice. The only time I feel a little bit out of my comfort zone now is if I’m in a group of highly successful people, I sometimes tend to hang back, assess everyone and not be my true self in case I might be judged, I don’t feel comfortable with this anymore as I want to show up as my authentic self. I have a little strategy now, I just tell myself, they came from the same place as me, no one is better than me just as I’m not any better than them, we are all equal.
When I was a child my parents moved around a lot and we changed schools quite a bit. I went to two different infant schools and four high schools in four years. You can imagine what that was like to have to make new friends every year, sometimes coming in to a new school half way through a year. I had to learn to adapt and fit in or be a loner. It’s funny how at different schools I joined different dynamics of kids. My first high school I was a tom boy and just fitted in with the lifestyle there. We then moved to the beach in a busy town and I honestly cannot remember anything about that place except feeling very lonely and not fitting in with anyone. I don’t even remember one kids name that I went to school with. We then moved to a very rough town and the girl that I was paired with to look after me and show me the ropes was pretty wild but lovely. I felt there that I had only two choices, either be a nerd or follow the more popular group, the wilder ones. There were obviously main stream ordinary kids but I didn’t get to meet them and so it was the wild kids for me. We only lived in this town for 12 months but this was where I first experimented with drugs, alcohol and sex. I was very young but I felt the pressure of being accepted and being one of them, of belonging so I went with the crowd. If we had not moved again my life today would be very different. The next town we moved to was where I could be myself, I made some great friends and made a fresh start, no pressure to be anyone else other than myself. 40 years later and I am still friends with many of these “kids”. I now felt like I belonged.
Here are a few quotes from young people as shared in Bren’e Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead:
- Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere you really 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.
- I get to be me if I belong. I have to be like you to fit in.
I have adapted very well over the years with many experiences to draw on, fitting in feels good, it makes us feel part of something but belonging is better. Rejection is a very genuine fear. No one likes to be rejected. If I have learned anything it’s that we aren’t everyone’s people, we won’t be liked by everyone and not one of us is the same. Maybe you’re not supposed to fit in because these people aren’t your people and really we should be belonging. I think belonging sounds better to me than fitting in. The saying find your tribe is so true. Here are a few suggestions that may help you to find your tribe, first up think about the kind of people you want to have in your tribe. What type of friendships feel good to you & what would it feel like to have a tribe? Imagine you have your tribe, feel into it, this is manifesting with the universe, putting it out there, setting your intention. Next think about what hobbies you like, join a women’s group with similar interests, sign up for a workshop in something that lights you up, don’t be scared to try new things , there are so many clubs out there, book clubs, meditation groups, yoga, hiking, dancing, writing, painting, do your homework. When you find your tribe, you will feel supported, have the best cheer leaders ever and you will form beautiful friendships, feeling like you belong has huge health benefits as well. So find your tribe, there is a world of people out there that are going to embrace your uniqueness and they are waiting just for you.
What about you? I would love to hear if you’ve found your tribe, if you have where you did find them? Please comment or leave some tips for others that are still looking for their tribe and stay tuned as I will be announcing some very exciting news in the near future on my guided walking and meditation groups. You never know, we may be your tribe.