Fitting in Versus Belonging popped up in my LinkedIn feed. Clicking and reading more of David Mead’s words I had an aha moment. Finally, I stumbled across the words that named a common thread in hundreds of conversations I’ve had over the years.
Cathy’s story was a common one. She’d gone through a messy divorce and was now left renting and raising two teens every second week. She’d survived the rocky transition from married to single life through endless partying with friends, a bottle of wine most nights and a constant cigarette in her hand. It had been a distraction that helped her to numb the pain and grieving of what was. Now the divorce papers were signed, the assets divided and it was time to create the life she really did want rather than getting by. That’s when she saw me to get her energy back, lose weight and just feel great again.
Eight weeks later she emerged an energised, slimmer version of her former self with a clearer mind, greater sense of herself and a burning drive to get shit done as she moved towards the life she dreamt of. Fast forward six months later she was weight training most days, had bought a house, quit smoking, drank only occasionally and ate cleanly most of the time.
Now Cathy’s old life no longer fitted and the friends who had partied with her as she got by, now made her feel like she couldn’t be the new version of herself. There was the constant pressure of conformity, ‘aren’t you going to drink with us anymore?’ Yes I can have one but I’m running 10km tomorrow at 6am and I need to be fresh. I’m happy for one drink and a dance but need to be in bed this side of midnight. ‘Oh, what’s wrong with you, where’s the old Cathy she was always so much fun. Remember when we……’
Unknown to many is when you change your habits, priorities, beliefs and values, it changes your world. We truly live life from the inside out.
Here’s where the truth lies about fitting in versus belonging.
Fitting in feels fake
Fitting in means it’s not okay to be the real you. You need to dumb down, pretend, hide parts of yourself, keep quiet to be accepted by the group or a person. It feels like you’ve squashed yourself into a box and you don’t quite fit, but you need to keep smiling to keep the peace.
“Fitting in means changing parts of who we are so that we are perceived as acceptable, lovable, or popular within a group or tribe. “ David Mead.
“Instead of expending energy to fit into the group, it’s better to expend energy to find the group in which we fit.” David Mead
Fitting in feels fake, it’s draining and creates fickle relationships.
How much energy do you spend trying to fit in? And in what parts of your life is this happening?
Belonging means being yourself
Human beings are social. We survive and thrive when we come together. We naturally seek belonging. We want to be part of something that represents what we value. Whether it be the neighborhood in which we choose to live, the friends with whom we associate, or the social environments in which we choose to spend our time, we are drawn to the places and to the people that allow us to feel the greatest sense of belonging. When we feel like we don’t belong, it prevents us from being our natural best. We either withdraw into solitude or depression or we struggle to find the connection we crave.
Belonging feels natural, authentic, fills you up and breeds trust and love.
Where do you feel a strong sense of belonging?
During a life transition there’ll be a time when you feel you’re in no man’s land as you travel from what was until what will be.
Have faith, keep aligned, embrace opportunities to connect with like-minded people and keep going you’ll feel your way onto the right path for you.
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk with you, but no one can walk it for you.” – Rumi
Keep going, I know you can do it!
Much love Julie xx