Love and belonging are just as necessary for humans as food and water. We are evolutionarily hard-wired to belong to a community, as well as, have deeper attachments to a handful of humans in that community. Humans are meant to connect with other humans, this is why we use solitary confinement as a means of torture. We will go mad and possibly even die without human connection.
As a species we have had, and continue to have, a higher likelihood of survival when we cultivate close relationships and contribute to a broader community of people. Because our subconscious mind (primarily the amygdala) believes that death is imminent if we don’t belong, we are often desperate to do so.
We get so thirsty for belonging, that we try to fit in pretty much everywhere we go.
What’s so wrong with fitting in, you ask? Well, fitting in is actually the antithesis of belonging and often leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation – the exact opposite of what we were going for.
The very first step of fitting in, starts us off on the wrong foot. First, we make an assumption as to what an individual or group wants from us. Then we channel our inner-chameleon and transform into this assumed personality or role.
Only the chameleon is its authentic self when it changes colors, we are not.
When we present ourselves inauthentically, most people pick up on it, intuitively feel like something is a little off, and in turn, back away from cultivating a deeper connection.
Inside ourselves, we have a fear of being “found out.” a.k.a the imposter syndrome, which often leads to us feeling even more insecure, and acting even more awkward. We tend to believe that our authentic self isn’t good enough to warrant belonging – we are not smart enough, cool enough, rich enough, good looking enough, etc.
Hear me when I say:
The only way to truly belong, is to show up, standing genuinely in your own unique truth and authenticity.
You will not belong to every group or individual; we are not meant to and that’s ok. You can only find “your people,” if you present your true self.
Now, this is easier said than done, I know. It takes some deep inner-work to rid yourself of the limiting beliefs that inform your feelings of “not enough.” Replacing limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs is some of the work I do with my clients and if you would like help with this, please reach out.
In the meantime, here’s a little trick you can use when you just can’t seem to muster the courage and vulnerability it takes to present your beautifully messy and imperfect, authentic self.
Don’t make it about you, make it about them.
Can you practice deep listening and curiosity? Can you practice holding space for others to present their authentic self to you? Stay present, meaning, stay out of your head, and truly listen to what this person is saying, as opposed to thinking about what you’re going to say in return. What questions do you have about what they are saying? Let your curiosity about them and their words lead the interaction. Doing this will allow that person to truly feel heard, and this is a huge step toward genuine human connection and belonging.
As always, I’m here to help. Your first coaching session is free. Click here to sign up!