Can you relate?
Does this ever happen with you?
Sometimes.... Well, who am I kidding?
OFTEN, things get ridiculously muddled in my noggin. I confuse fitting in and feeling comfortable, and safe and accepted by and among others with feeling comfortable and safe and accepted inside of my own skin.
I delight in the affirmation that I am bestowed. Like a well-fed cat reveling in a soothing, relaxing belly rub and the warmth of the sun.
And then, when the affirmation that brings me such delight is not as forthcoming, I feel disoriented, confused. Sometimes I may even be deeply traumatised and downright frightened.
I might expend endless moments ruminating, trying to figure out how I messed up, what I may have missed, who I displeased.
I can expend my mental and emotional energy running countless scenarios through my mind trying to understand what I must fix to get my 'acceptance' fix.
This I've come to learn is a completely unhealthy and totally unproductive pursuit.
I marvel at the ironies and paradoxes of this 'fitting in' need, this External Reference thing that I do. The irony stems from the fact that I relish my almost permanent 'outsider' status and identity. I wear it like a badge of honour. It's my 'cool kid' jacket. I think of my outsider status as giving me 'clarity' lenses. I can supposedly step out of the groupthink and look at things critically. As they are. BS me thinks...
But this is just another trick my mind plays. Its a self-preservation trick. Disconnected and disassociated, I can't be disappointed, I can't be hurt.
My point of reference is still THEM.
When I spend time unraveling this strange phenomenon of fitting in and not fitting in, I understand the very strong human desire to belong. I understand the allure of inclusion. I understand the necessity of comfort. Last I checked I was human after all.
And yet, in the moments in which I feel the most powerful within myself, where I bask in the experience of success, fitting in and not fitting in is so irrelevant to my internal discourse. It's conspicuous in its absence. 'THEM' occupy no space in my internal landscapes.
These are the glorious moments in which I fit comfortably in MYSELF. In my ME-ness. My comfort and sanctuary envelopes me from a place deep inside me. A place where I experience complete alignment between my envisioned self and my experienced self. This belonging feels rooted and stable and secure. There is no need for me to be fleet-footed and to tap dance around the whims of others. I am resilient against the winds of opinion. I step and I dance to a tune that feels like flow. And I feel whole.
I don't evaluate my 'clarity' or 'correctness' of thought in relation to others. I simply contribute my thoughts and perspectives with no attachments to its reception by 'THEM'.
In this place, where I am comfortable in and belong with MYSELF, I access freedom. I understand it.
This place of congruence eases the grip of judgment simply because I step into my identity as a learner; a student of life. I lose my attachments to how I want things to be and I am open to how things could be. I stop seeing how they are as an obstacle and instead see opportunity.
I step into the light of acceptance and ease and gratitude. And then life gets interesting.
I co-exist with THEM with ease. With them, but not 'for' them. I delight in the pleasure of companionship and co-creation, but not 'through' them.
I've come to learn and to understand this idea of fitting in and not fitting in to be a distortion. An illusion. A mirage. It's a mind trick that keeps us off-kilter. It stops us from having real conversations with ourselves. The ones that truly matter. The ones that take us to flow, to freedom, to honouring ourselves, our hearts, and our souls.
Your sanctuary, your comfort, your belonging, your happiness, your joy, your success, your freedom, your trust in yourself pivots solely on your relationship with yourself and the foundation you put in place for yourself.
I think we miss an amazing opportunity to step into our power and to make our impact when we fall prey to the distractions that can be borne from the need to belong, especially if the need to belong is riddled with distortions and countless trickles of fear.
If you feel like YOU are missing out on this opportunity, I'd like to help you reclaim it. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to take advantage of my free clarity call, or grab your space in the Self-Love Revolution programme https://www.newhabits.co.za/copy-of-the-self-love-revolution