From a young age, I knew that I did not fit in. I did, however, do a lot of things to fit in. I jumped on the bandwagon far too many times, obsessed over the current celebrity trend even if I didn’t like them, I begged my parents for the trendy clothes and made myself small so I can fit in. Acting like someone else and trying so badly to fit, backfired.
From a young age, I did not let myself be who I was because I thought that no one would like me – I was young and now I see that there are more nuances to it than that, but at the very core of it all I was desperate to fit in and to feel like I belonged. This mostly stemmed from a need to be seen, to be accepted and to be understood. All things I was not doing for myself, so naturally I went out into the world to find people who could see me, accept me, and understand me. Eventually, I reached a point where I still was not fitting in or feeling like I belonged anywhere or with any group of people. Even with the moments that I felt like I “belonged”, there was still a part of me that felt missing or empty.
The journey we go on to fit in or find out where we belong is not just about finding our place in the world. Nor is it about finding a purpose bigger than ourselves or joining a community, those components of our lives are tied to this but for today we are just going to put them aside. The journey of belonging or fitting in is about finding your path to accepting yourself. The journey we embark on makes us think that we need to go out and find who we are in other people or places. We never draw attention to the real truth which is, that finding who we are and where we belong starts with accepting ourselves as we are.
We go on with our lives trying to pretend we can find pieces of ourselves in different places or with different people. I did this for a long time, but there came a point where the communities I had fit into had gone, ended, or transformed into something or someplace I no longer belonged or fit into. What was I left with then? In the moments where I have had no one but myself and I was not fitting in or belonging to anything, I kind of felt relieved. I felt relieved that for a second, I didn’t have to compartmentalize who I was to fit in with the different groups and communities I had joined. I was in a situation where I could just be me, and nothing was expected from me other than just being myself.
We all want to fit in and belong somewhere, but what’s screaming out at us is not the need to belong, it’s the desire or the want for us to be accepted because we have not accepted ourselves for who we are. It’s a desire to be seen, wanted and appreciated because we have never let ourselves be that source of fulfillment, we always think that the acceptance we crave needs to come from outside sources.
When I sat down with myself and honestly evaluated what was wrong with my life, I reached the same conclusion as I had the previous times. I had never accepted who I was.
I realized that what I wanted from this journey of belonging and fitting in was to be accepted for who I was by others, but that is not how you satisfy that need to be seen, heard or understood. The only way we can give attention to that part of our life is by leaning into ourselves and understanding why we don’t see ourselves and why we can’t accept ourselves. If you feel like you have been searching for somewhere to go or be and have had no luck in the process, maybe its time for you to take a look at what is driving your journey to belong and fit in.