Fitting In vs. Belonging

Photo credit: Chiara Pinna via Unsplash

Photo credit: Chiara Pinna via Unsplash

I've never really had a hard time fitting in. Thanks to a chameleon-y personality type and a desire to please, if you put me in a room with a group of strangers I can almost always push through my social anxiety enough to find a group of people who I connect well with in conversation, who laugh at my jokes, and who I generally have a great time with. While I used to see fitting in as the goal, I've started to feel that merely fitting in is really actually pretty lonely.

Fitting in will always be a desire; it's so important to look at your group and see similar interests, to stand in the same camp on important moral issues, and live life in a familiar rhythm. The opposite of fitting in is feeling like an outsider, and that can hurt deeply. It can feel like everyone is else is privy to some sort of secret that you were left out of. It can make you feel like you're nowhere near enough. 

One of the hardest parts of becoming an adult was realizing that while I've been so grateful to have been able to easily fit in through life, what felt awesome at the beginning of fitting in soon turns to feeling flimsy and cheap. When you just fit in, it feels good to be an accepted member of the crowd but it's easy to lose your identity. It's a relief to not have that "outside looking in" feeling anymore, but it doesn't compare to that deep sense of knowing and being known that comes with true belonging.

Belonging is a totally different feeling. The people you belong to are the ones your heart reaches for after a rough day. They're the ones who have loved you through your worst and cheered for you in your best. The ones who feel like time hasn't past even when distance and life have kept you apart. When you belong, the pressure is off from having to keep up the outer things that keep you in the group. When you belong, there's an undeniable peace that you, exactly how you are in that minute, with no account to what you're wearing, what you're into, or what you're feeling, are enough.

This is what I want. I want to belong deeply and completely.  I want to access the part of my personality that is exactly who I am and let that chameleon part of me fade away. I'm excited to be moving into a phase of life where belonging not only feels like it's a possibility, but has become a priority. We deserve to be surrounded by people who make our hearts swell. We are worthy of deep connection and being known. We are enough for the life we desire.