“If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in” Brene Brown
How many times have you walked in to a room, an event, a conference, a meeting and felt out of place? Like you don’t belong?
It might depend on whether you know people or not or how you’re feeling about going. It could be how you’re feeling about the people in the room, the energy in the room or how you’re interpreting the body language. It may be how you’re feeling about fitting in, what you’re wearing, or simply how you’re feeling about yourself in general.
We make unconscious and conscious decisions about our state of belonging all the time. The ego mind creates the separated perception, a delusion, a distortion in consciousnesses where the ego mind says “I’m separate”. As soon as you see yourself as separate from others, you create that separation, whether it actually exists or not. As a result, you feel the sense of lack of belonging or longing to belong.
The other night I went to yoga. Yoga class is a place where I imagine everyone is welcome. I imagine I’m welcome even if I don’t know how to do yoga and I don’t know anyone in the class. I have the story that the teacher and the yoga community is accepting and not focused on what you’re not good at. Just getting yourself to class is an accomplishment, right?
When I walked into a class called “Surrender”, there was a new teacher. The room accommodates 63 and there were probably 1/2 that many there, but the room looked packed because she had everyone against the wall . Unbeknownst to me, the teacher’s intention was to have everyone use the wall for a pose. I got there just before class started and there wasn’t an inch of room along the wall. The room was dark. I couldn’t see a single space. There I was, all 5’4” of me feeling like the tallest, most awkward person on the planet.
I found the courage to walk around the room until I found a place between two other students that looked like I could “fit in”. I said, “looks like i have to be here,” but one of the two said, “she wants us up against the wall, there’s no room.” So, I felt myself get even more upset. I felt separate and I kept walking. Then, I saw a corner, literally a corner, and put my mat there. After a few minutes, I realized I couldn’t even spread my arms out on either side. I couldn’t stay there. At this point, I was fuming.
I was contemplating walking out and feeling so pissed off at the teacher for not helping me. I picked up my mat and started walking out. I got about 1/2 way and put my mat down under a bright light in the teachers alcove area. I almost laughed at myself because I went from being in a dark corner to being in the spotlight. How poetic! At that moment, I real-eyes’d, I did belong there. Because, truly, I am the only one who can decide where and if I belong.
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging , in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.” Brene Brown
Belonging isn’t something you earn or acquire from an external source. It begins within.
So I may not fit in all places but when I Am Being myself, I all-ways Belong.