Easier Said Than Done.
I've spent my entire life on hyper alert of whether or not I feel like I belong.
My guess is you can relate.
Take in Brené Brown's reminder:
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Wired to belong.
It's natural. And so it's natural to notice when we don't feel like we belong. When we feel awkward, out of place, unsupported, misunderstood.
This week I revealed some heartfelt truths and desires to my Yoga Health Coaching community. I was nervous for their response. I was dreading the feeling of no longer belonging. Instead, I was surprised. My acknowledgement of my deepest desires, however different from the work we were doing together, did not scare them away.
When I revealed to them my longing to open a community centered bed and breakfast (which you will begin to hear more and more about as the dream unfolds), I witnessed their intrigue, not rejection. Their eyes lit up and I walked away with a list of potential new connections. My coach, Cate, affirmed my redirection with compassion.
Instead of losing my sense of belonging because my path differs some from my peers, I experienced deeper connection on account of speaking my truth.
Cate also said,
“Belonging is being exactly who you are while being part of something bigger.”
We are not the same.
I feared that belonging required me to be the same when, in fact, my peers are better able to support me when I reveal my differences, when I show up as me. Go figure?!
There is a concept I LOVE in the Yoga Health Coaching community that I aim to emulate in the Grounded Here Community, particularly in the @ home in your body course, where folks tend to uncover what they really want, what they love about themselves, and what's keeping them from getting there. The concept I love is that
We get to know each other for who we are becoming, rather than who we have been.
When we feel like we belong for longer than a moment, it is because we have permission to evolve and still be loved. Those around us can see us for who we are. We feel that we are seen for who we are AND who we are becoming. We are not dragged down and back into old habits that no longer serve us. We are not seen as children when we are adults. We are seen for our potential.
Can you see yourself this way? My guess is there are folks in your life you see this way. You look at them in their stuckness and see all they could be. You may get caught up in wanting to correct them or change them. Or you may be able to love them unconditionally for who they are becoming. When we can love ourselves in this way, it is so much easier to love others in this way.
I don't believe that belonging to ourselves means we must be totally content alone all of the time. I am an extrovert and thrive on connection. What I know from experiences over the past few years, though, is that being content when I choose to be alone involves facing those things about me that I wish were different or that are different from those around me - the feelings, the choices, the appearances, etc. It involves sensing deeply the sensations in my body that tell me I don't feel like I belong and acknowledging them. Without pushing myself away, I can make room for both the regrets and dreams. I can remember what helps me feel free and connected - movement, nature, the ocean, writing, snuggling my dog.
When I can cultivate a sense of belonging to me, I am increasingly able to to sense my belonging with others.
Belong To You.
What's one way you can practice belonging to yourself today? You might try this:
Take a walk without your cell phone. As you walk start by noticing sounds and sights around you. Slowly bring your awareness to your physical body. Notice where you feel a sense of gripping or grasping. As you bring your awareness to that part of you, invite yourself to relax. Often when I do this I sigh. If it's difficult to let go with a deep breath, it often indicates I have more investigating to do - more attention to pay to what I'm clinging to.
You might choose to continue with this pattern until you can relax. If you feel anxious or concerned for your wellbeing, stop and seek psychiatric support.
If you are able to let go physically, you might be able to identify the feelings/emotions that contributed to holding that part of your body tight. Can you offer yourself a word of compassion here? You might just say something like, "I see you anger. I see you fear. I see you sadness." W