It's Bloom time once again! How are you doing? I hope you are continuing to blossom in your life, even if fall is setting in (spring, if you're in the southern hemisphere!). Whatever your age -- it doesn't have to hold you back -- we can continue to "flower" right up to the end.
This week's Bloom is the follow-up to The Seed:
"Have you ever considered the difference between
belonging and fitting in?
I invite you to think about it."
As you know by now, I love words -- their meanings, their nuances, and innuendos. There's a wonderful radio show on NPR that also rebroadcasts via a podcast. With all my cross-country drives, I've become quite a fan of podcasts. The one I'm referring to is "Says You" and it's an hour of word games. The question I asked in The Seed is right up this program's alley!
I already had a sense of how belonging differed from fitting in and I went a little deeper with some research. "Belonging" can be described as a yearning for connection, a need for positive regard from others and an emotional need to be part of a group, part of something greater than oneself, something that makes us feel better. On the other hand, "fitting in" is striving to be or act in a certain, specific way that you think is necessary in order to be accepted by others. One is warm and fuzzy and the other is yucky!
You know I talk and have written about our Ego vs Soul many times. When we feel like we belong, it's a heart and soul connection. There's a comfort being in and part of a group that holds us. We feel joy and we feel like we're where we want to be and they want us to be there, too.
When we are hoping to fit in there's an element of fear, the ego's most triggering emotion. Even once we finally feel like we're "there", there's a sense that no one cares if we are or not. It's like a lot of scared egos bumping up against one another and all trying to be just a little bit better than the next one. When we get caught up in the wanting to be like so-and-so, we start to hear ourselves saying those dangerous words ... "I should be.../I should do..." Anytime we start "shoulding" all over ourselves, it's a sign to back away.
We can talk ourselves into thinking we'll be happy if we learn to fit in, but we rarely can be. There's no real bond like there is in belonging. Social media can contribute to our feeling that we need to fit in - it's a false, empty need. In fact, there can be a really dark side to wanting to "be like" others. Over the years, especially through adolescence, young people will often indulge in risky behaviour, just to be part of the "in crowd". Whether it's using drugs or starving themselves to look like someone on TikTok or worse, they're hoping for acceptance. Just yesterday there was a news report on how hair straighteners might be causing cancer. A black woman stated that she had been using this product for years, "So I could fit in". The pressure is on and it never lets up when we are not being true to ourselves in an attempt to yield to someone else's standards.
Genuine, loving relationships are what truly support us. There's a saying that Friends know all about you and still love you. When we can feel free to be ourselves we are less stressed, calmer, more content, and it allows space for us to continue evolving into higher levels of our magnificence. This is what happens when we have the good fortune of feeling like we belong -- and that is what I wish for you.
Do you have something you'd like to hash out? Are you feeling like some days (most days?) are harder than others? You're not alone. The last few years have been a wild, roller coaster ride, to say the least. I'm opening up some extra spots for coaching, especially around getting healthy and looking forward to the future. Send me an email and we can have a sesh to see if I can help you. It's tough trying to figure it out all on our own.
Sparkles and Love,