How to Finally Belong
Growing up as the only child of a single workaholic mom, I spent a lot of time alone.
It often seemed like everyone else knew something I didn’t. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was on the outside looking through a window watching everyone else enjoying the party of life.
When people asked if I was an only child, I thought they were asking if I was a lonely child.
To both, my answer was yes.
Much of my early life was a quest to find a feeling of Belonging.
Later, I found it, though there was just one remnant of that old sadness I hadn't been able to clear. Now, I know how to.
For years, I’ve followed the work of Dr. Brené Brown. Her now ultra-famous TEDx talk, The Power of Vulnerability forever changed my understanding of true strength.
Dr. Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone has the missing piece for clearing that old story of feeling alone in the world. The subtitle says it all—this book has helped me unravel the mystery of True Belonging and its connection to standing alone.
For this book, Brené was inspired by a quote from one of her teachers, Maya Angelou:
“I belong to myself. I’m very proud of that. I am very concerned with how I look at Maya. I like Maya, very much. I like the humor and the courage very much. And when I find myself acting in a way that doesn’t please me, then I have to deal with that.”
Here’s a fantastic short video of Ms. Angelou talking about that with Bill Moyers in 1973.
The difference between fitting in and belonging is where we derive our sense of worth and self-acceptance. Only when we source them from within ourselves, rather than from the outside in, can we be truly free and finally BELONG.
Dr. Brown says:
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don't belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
What is your experience of Belonging? I hope you’ll share in the comments below—I’d like to hear.
P.S. I've got some exciting events coming up soon—stay tuned!