In all the years I have worked with people, I have learned that one of the things that people need most is to be seen figuratively naked and loved for just who they are. This is true whether people are 5 years old or 75 years old. We want those we love (well let’s be honest, sometimes we would like to have this from those we don’t even know that well!) to see who we are, and love/like us for it. I loved when I read a Brene Brown book and she gave the words, “fitting in” versus “belonging”. She gave a great description to what I have seen over the last almost 20 years (am I really that old?!?!…the answer is yes��).
What is fitting in? Fitting in is when we behave in ways that we know will gain us approval from others. We wear the “right” clothes. We say the “right” things. We try to do what others expect of us. Be the people we think they want us to be. When we do this, we hope we will be a part of the group. Or liked. Or accepted. Or loved. Or wanted. The problem is….
We are not our real selves. So, what that means is that even if we “fit in” to the group, it doesn’t REALLY feel good or right. It feels like we are wearing a mask or acting. It feels emptier than we had hoped. When we pay attention, it even hurts.
What we really need? Belonging. We need to belong. So, what does that mean? It means we get to show up for exactly who we are. Scars and all. We get to show up anxious, hurt, mad, sad, happy, successful, with our own interests AND loved because of it. We get to be us. Authentically who we are.
If we can’t show up as who we are, we know there is something missing. Whether we are 5 or 75 we know when we don’t belong. Sometimes we have words for it sometimes we don’t, but we know just the same.
In the relationships we care about, it is important we create the space of belonging for those we love. It is important we make an effort to see and accept those we care about for who they are.
Likewise, it is important we find and foster relationships with those who are able to see, value, and love us for who we are. That is belonging. We as humans crave and need belonging.
If this struck a cord with you, and you would like to work through your own sense of belonging, give us a call at 720-583-9932. We would love to support you in creating a life and relationships you love!
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!