Why Fit In When You Can Belong?

Updated: May 21, 2020

When you don't belong anywhere, no place, and with no one...You learn to belong to yourself.

What once was a curse is now developing into a beautiful gift. The gift of belonging to myself.

For many years I have tried to fit in, with classmates, with colleagues, and with friends. Desperately searching for the feeling of belonging.

Brene Brown, best selling author and researcher says that "the opposite of belonging is fitting in". Now, your first reaction to this statement may be "what, I thought belonging and fitting in were the same thing". I was a bit confused at first as well.

As I listened to Brene explain further, I had an aha moment. (Aha moment: a moment of clarity when it all seems to make sense)

Brene says that when you try to fit in, you adapt and change who you are so that you can be like the others in whatever group you are trying to fit into. On the other hand, you will only feel like you belong when you are authentic to yourself and living what is true for you.

Belonging = Finding out who you are authentically + Bravely expressing it

This is a formula to pay attention to if you too are searching for the feeling of belonging. Now, getting to work on this formula is life's work. To the best of my knowledge, there is no magic wand or instant solution. (If you do have a magic wand, please send it my way)

There is also another formula to consider that is directly tied to the one above, and that is:

Being Brave = Risk + Uncertainty + Vulnerability

To embark on a journey of self discovery takes courage, it required that you take risks, befriend uncertainty and above all else let yourself be seen. It is not easy, and the rewards are worth it.

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Maya Angelou

In a conversation with Bill Moyers, Maya Angelou said that she has never belonged anywhere, and that she belongs only to herself. She said "more and more I belong to myself. I’m very proud of that. I am very concerned about 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 that doesn’t please me, then I have to deal with that."