How often does our desire to belong close us off from being our true selves?
I know on numerous occasions my desire to belong means I’ve played it small, kept it within limits I know are more acceptable to others. I often have to remind myself that this type of thinking doesn’t serve me, but that doesn’t necessarily sustain my courage to be outside the norm. I don’t seem able to rationalise this away, no matter how many times I’ve tried and succeeded, it’s only ever temporary.
And… I can’t help but think it’s a very reasonable fear. The fear of not belonging, of being cast out and left to fend for ourselves. If our ancestors broke away from the social group their chances of survival would have been greatly diminished and for this reason I think it’s fair to acknowledge that the desire to belong is powerful! It may even be wired into our genes as a method of survival.
Even if all this is true for our ancestors, it’s not as severely true for us today. We could be cast out by everyone who knows us and easily move somewhere new, make new friends, find a new tribe. Our survival is no longer dependent on remaining in a group, however it is emotionally strengthening to feel a sense of belonging. I remember reading a study in 2010 from the Harvard Business Review that proved our happiness levels are connected to how strong our social group was. So if we want to increase our emotional resilience, our happiness levels and our sense of belonging so we can feel safe in our fullest expression of who we are, what can we do?
Let’s keep it simple, we can look for a tribe, with the internet at our fingertips this is sooo doable!! We can easily search for people who are similar to us who can easily accept us just as we are because they’re the same. If you haven’t found this tribe, keep looking, I know I will, all we need is to find and spend time with people who make us feel like we belong.
Who knows it might give us (… Um… I think I mean ‘me’) the strength to stop playing it small and stand taller and bolder in our unique and beautiful true selves 😉 xx