“I didn’t belong as a kid, and that always bothered me. If only I’d known that one day my differences would be an asset, then my early life would have been much easier.” ~ Bette Midler …
Perhaps we, too, felt this same way at some point in our lives… that we were different or did not belong. The thing is that although many of us experience this lack of belonging, the majority of us fail to associate these feelings with ourselves, as having come from within us. Over the years, I have discovered that when I feel like I do not belong, I also tend to act as if I do not belong–a response that makes it difficult–if not impossible–for others to be inclusive towards me and help me to experience a sense of belonging.
As a child, I had a few spats now and then, and there were some times in which bullies in school picked on me and made me feel like I did not fit in. But what I failed to realize at the time was that having a couple really good friends–the kind that will be there for me when I need someone–was really all I needed to help remind me that I did in fact belong and that my life has meaning and purpose. Once I had a true friend, it became much easier for me to see that it really did not matter whether or not I “fit in” with the crowd; I am who I am, and my value and worth are not based on anything outside of myself. This is one of the most important lessons in life: be with those who accept you as you are–those who sincerely enjoy your company, and whose company you enjoy.
The truth is we all belong in this life: we are each created as unique individuals with essential roles and authentic pieces to contribute to the lives of others–there has never been, is, or ever will be, another you or me. And instead of trying to hide our differences, we should take them and develop them, celebrate them, and allow them to define us.
Take a moment to reflect upon the splendor of your uniqueness.
Questions to consider:
What are some of the major differences inherent in who you are as a person?
Do you ever feel that you do not belong in some sort of setting? Where do you think those feelings originate?
How might we help ourselves to realize that as human beings, we fully belong to communities of other human beings?
For further thought:
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche