Be Seen. Be heard. Be you.
Elyce Kiperman-Gordon, MS, LCMHC, NCC
I am licensed to provide in-person, online video or phone counseling throughout the state of Florida.
As human beings, we crave connection and acceptance. However, there is a difference between fitting in and belonging. While fitting in may seem like a way to achieve acceptance, it often requires changing fundamental aspects of yourself, leading to a sense of disconnection and loneliness. On the other hand, true belonging means being accepted for your authentic self, imperfections and all.
The Pressure to Fit In
The desire to fit in is a common one, and it’s not hard to see why. Feeling like an outsider can be lonely and isolating, and fitting in may seem like the easiest way to avoid those feelings. However, fitting in often requires changing who you are to gain acceptance. This can lead to a sense of inauthenticity and disconnection from your true self.
The Fear of Missing Out
The fear of missing out (FOMO) can also be a powerful motivator when it comes to fitting in. We may worry that if we don’t change ourselves to fit in with a particular group, we will miss out on opportunities or experiences. However, this mindset can lead us to compromise our values and beliefs, ultimately leaving us feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.
The Downsides of Fitting In
When we try to fit in, we may find ourselves struggling to set boundaries or communicate honestly with others. We may feel pressure to conform to the expectations of the group, even if they don’t align with our values or beliefs. This can lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction, as we may feel like we are living a life that isn’t true to ourselves.
The Benefits of Belonging
True belonging, on the other hand, means being accepted for who you truly are. True belonging happens when we present ourselves authentically with all or imperfections and faults. This requires vulnerability and courage, as we must be willing to show our imperfections and faults. However, it also allows us to experience a sense of connection and fulfillment that is impossible to achieve when we are hiding parts of ourselves.
Belonging allows us to communicate from our hearts, rather than feeling like we need to put on a facade to fit in. It also allows us to set healthy boundaries and communicate honestly with others. When we belong, we are able to be our authentic selves, which leads to a greater sense of self-acceptance and confidence.
The Importance of Authenticity
Ultimately, authenticity is key to both belonging and personal fulfillment. When we are true to ourselves, we are able to form genuine connections with others who accept us for who we are. This leads to a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.
Here are three ways to practice belonging:
In conclusion, while fitting in may seem like a way to achieve acceptance and avoid loneliness, it often requires compromising our values and beliefs. True belonging, on the other hand, means being accepted for our authentic selves, imperfections and all. By embracing our authenticity and showing up as our true selves, we can experience a sense of connection, fulfillment, and personal growth.
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