Updated: Nov 23, 2022
There is a misconception that ‘fitting in’ is the same as ‘belonging’ when in reality it is the complete opposite.
When I reflect upon the different areas of my life, from childhood to adulthood, and where I truly felt I belonged and where I thought I belonged but ultimately only tried to ‘fit in,’ they are worlds apart!
I didn’t realise how ‘belonging’ was so important to me until I watched Brené Brown: The Call to Courage on Netflix. In fact, this realisation was so powerful that I burst into tears. It took me a long time to unpack some deep-rooted memories and painful situations before I could come to terms with who I was being in these situations, why I tried so hard to ‘fit in’ and how rarely I have ever felt like I ‘belonged’.
Dr Brené Brown says, “The opposite of belonging is fitting in. Fitting in is assessing and acclimating. ‘Here is what I should say/be, here is what I shouldn’t say, here is what I should avoid talking about, here’s what I should dress like/look like,’ that’s fitting in…Speaking your truth, telling your story and never betraying yourself for other people. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.”
“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.” This quote really resonated with me because for the 26 years I was working in education and for the 23 years I have been a parent, I have consciously tried my best to adopt these principles and cultivate an environment whereby my students and my children feel accepted, valued, appreciated and liked, for who they are as unique human beings and not by standards society, their parents, teachers etc. want or expect them to be.
When one feels that they ‘belong’ there is a higher sense of being connected to something that has meaning, purpose and acceptance. It ticks all of the boxes of your 6 Human Needs (certainty, variety, love & connection, significance, contribution and growth) and promotes gratitude, tolerance and resilience.
For more information on ‘belonging’ click on the links below
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