One of the most important needs some of my clients feel a void around is that sense of belonging. That feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves. Whether that’s a community, group, family or industry. Or even on a larger global scale.

A sense of belonging is a fundamental need, not to be confused with fitting in. Because by focusing on fitting in we often betray ourselves in an effort to be accepted.

Brene Brown wrote in her book The Gifts of Imperfection; a true sense of belonging is felt when we belong to ourselves first. This is the total opposite of trying to fit in, where we mould ourselves into what or who we feel we need to be.

We see this a lot in the business and career networking community, where the focus is on achieving the outcomes we want. But this also happens within families too, because this is where our tribal fears emerge. It triggers a survival need. If we feel like we don’t belong in our family, then we’re out in the cold.

I would say most people at some point or another have tried to fit in with what felt like a square peg in a round hole. Whether it’s in childhood or later. This fundamental need has driven us to abandon our truth to morph into what we think is likeable.

Trying to fit in just to be accepted is an act of self betrayal.

Just recently I went to the hairdressers. I hadn’t been in ages and my stubborn cowlick had grown out of control. Now bear in mind that I have been fighting with this hair whorl for my whole life, trying to get it to do what it wasn’t designed to do. Finally I have let go and I let it do it’s thing. I’ve accepted my hair as it is and it feels so much better. My style even looks better too with that part in my fringe where it’s always meant to be.

What does that have to do with the sense of belonging you might ask.

The point I am making is that my hair absolutely refused to transform itself to keep me happy. By stubbornly denying me this over decades I was eventually able to see what I loved about my hair the way it is naturally. It was a form of self acceptance.

In the same way, if we want to truly be accepted then we must stop reshaping ourselves in an effort to fit in. We need to focus on accepting ourselves first. In this way, as Brene Brown says, we belong to ourselves first.

Belonging to ourselves first is powerful

There is a beauty in being ourselves that is wonderfully attractive. Instead of a need for external validation and worth, we begin to stand in our truth and this is powerful. We automatically feel like we belong whether it’s reflected externally or not. Interestingly enough, this may also mean that we achieve the outcomes we want much easier too.

For many of us that can sound scary; it can feel quite vulnerable showing our true selves. Let’s say it’s taken me many years to make that transition myself. But I’m finally here and it feels great.

Often this comes with age and experience, it can be quite a journey. We don’t want to waste the quickly diminishing time we have left on the planet trying to be something we’re not. We learn to accept ourselves. And as we do then we don’t feel so exposed when we reveal who we truly are to the external world.

Over the years of continually trying to fit in we can often lose a sense of our true selves.

This might mean you need to spend time getting to know yourself again. Because complete acceptance of who you are begins with completely understanding and loving the real you. I don’t want to say the good, the bad and the ugly, because there is no such thing. But you get the meaning right? It’s about loving and accepting the whole package.

Create a space of exploration and get to know you. What drives you, motivates you, lights you up and fulfils you. Gain a deeper insight into what irks you, fires you up, exasperates you and why. Take ownership of those parts of you that you’d rather others didn’t know about. Feel into the qualities, gifts and strengths that make you uniquely you.

Once you have reacquainted with yourself and feel into the love and acceptance of your whole self, it feels impossible to betray yourself. And that my friend is a true sense of belonging.

Through trying to fit in over many years, you can often lose that vital sense of self. This can lead to a lack of self confidence and exploration of who you really are can feel quite difficult to do alone. Working with a good coach can give you this essential knowing and acceptance of the real you, which brings a true sense of belonging. To see if coaching with Deb feels right for you Book Your Initial Complimentary Connect Call HERE.