It’s a natural human desire to be part of something – to belong. It’s about people wanting to build and keep strong, positive relationships with others. This need is deeply rooted in us humans and affects everything we do, how we feel, and our well-being.
I have been looking back on my life from the lens of healing and growth during 2023. It’s hard not to wonder about how I allowed myself to get into very similar relationships and situations time and again. Choosing people, causes, organisations even, to which I would give my all, only to find that myself being used and cast aside. Some people and situations more toxic than the other.
Then I began to examine how hard I tried to fit into my family both immediate and extended. Trying to ‘forgive and forget’, ‘move on’, ‘kiss and make up’ – all of these band-aid solutions that people offer.
Why did I do this? It was only the other day that I realised that I had a desperate need to belong. To be a part of. To be accepted. That’s what people took advantage of.
A few years ago, I decided to really stand up for myself. Not accepting disrespect. Not allowing people to choose when to include me and when not to. That’s when I realized the subtle code that exists in many families and organizations – conform if you want to belong, they say.
I’ve chosen not to try to fit in at the cost of my self-respect. Believe me, not ‘belonging’ can be difficult. But it’s the road I’ve chosen.
I know that I’m not alone. I know I belong to myself and to the One who made me.
“Belonging is being part of something bigger than yourself. But it’s also the courage to stand alone, and to belong to yourself above all else.”Dr. Brené Brown
This is Day 35 of My 66-day Journey of Healing Through Writing and Sharing.