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Do you struggle to fit in?

If ever a question tugged on all the tender parts of my heart, it’s this one.

Fair warning: I don’t have an easy answer that solves this. I am going to give you some other ideas that I hope help you navigate this, and that I hope help you find a sense of community.

The easy part to answer if you want to make connections:

  • Volunteering: I have several close friends that I met volunteering who have passed the decade mark and by close, I mean we have genuinely walked one another through some pretty heavy stuff. Volunteering is going to put you in touch with some authentic people who give time to help others. This is a good bet of meeting some genuine people.
  • A couple other options:
    • Meetup: Find a specific group that you may have a specific (somewhat rare) interest with.
    • Book club: Especially around a book/author you genuinely want to explore.

Now to the harder part.

This is the thing about healing. It’s as if the person who is determined to feel better about themselves, gets punished for not blending in better, or adapting to whatever role everyone else wants them to play.

And, they are roles.

I think so many are born into families and communities that have a specific expectation of what you are supposed to look like, how you are supposed to act, and what you have to do to survive.

Sometimes subtle, sometimes brutal, people are taught by their environments who they need to be to get that shred of connection, affirmation, and intimacy.

Many of us have histories that show a person shaping themselves because they had to. It was believing the shame that told us we lacked value, because the people around us treated us that way. Believing this felt more accurate than having the capacity to come up with a different narrative.

These little kids grow up to be people who were not given permission to not fit in. Fitting in was the only option to get essential needs met.

Another example of fitting in, is not causing a stir when you are suffering, or blaming yourself for something that has nothing to do with you.

Fitting in.

Fitting in, getting by.

Fitting in, getting by, survival mode.

Exchanging what you have access to in order to retrieve some sense of connection, a need, a want.

Oof. Fitting in.

I do not want to suggest that fitting in is a terrible thing. But, I do want to question what you have had to do in order to fit in.

What parts have you silenced?

What ways did you adapt so you did not feel the reality around you?

There is a difference between fitting in vs. belonging.

And, I hope you belong. I hope you belong as you learn all the things you had to do to fit in the mold for your survival, and you pull that version of you closer and love them well.

I hope you belong to your unconventional ways you can’t fit in because it clashes with the awareness compassion brings to your tender heart.

I hope you belong to a process that explores pleasure and joy. Naming the things that make you feel most alive and hopeful. The things that give you a reprieve from the harder days…the things that mean the most to you because they give you something to look forward to.

I wish I had a specific way to tell you to find people who feel like genuine connection comes easily. I wish there were an app, or a list, or a website that resolved that ache of feeling like you have to fit in.

But, I hope in the meantime, you will take the time to remind yourself you belong. You belong in the process of finding peace and pleasure to give yourself anchors.

And you belong to humanity as someone who has struggled like so many others to understand the complexity of people. And you belong as the gentle soul who was able to craft a question that touched so many others, who also needed the reminder that they are not responsible to fit in.

Sending much compassion…

I’m so glad you are here!

Nate

*****I hesitated to share about my online group, as it is not going to be the right connecting point for everyone, but I will say for those who do feel a sense of belonging there, there is growth in their lives. There is hope, courage, compassion and movement in new ways.

We will open new spots on June 26th. Make sure you have a spot on our waitlist here.

 

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