How Fitting In Is Different From Belonging

In an excerpt from The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, she states,

“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

Growing up, we all may have some desire to fit in with the people around us. No one likes to be singled out and picked on for being different.

Beyond wanting to avoid social rejection, we also have a deep desire just to be connected with others.

We might want to be connected to our families, connected to our friends, or connected to people at school.

And at times, we find ourselves compromising our values for acceptance.

People can lose sight of who they are and go down a path that ultimately leaves them unsatisfied in life.

When we choose the path of belonging, we receive acceptance just the way we are. With that feeling comes a sense of joy and peace.

If you’re tired of trying to fit in with the crowd you surround yourself with, here are tips based on Brene Brown’s book that’ll help you belong to something.

Circle of people

1. Present your authentic, imperfect self

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

When we strive to fit in with others, we’re conforming to how they think and act. We choose to suppress our own ways of thinking and acting.

To be authentic is to think and act the way you are most of the time, regardless of what other people think.

You also own the imperfection of who you are, knowing that it doesn’t wholly define you. That’s what we should expect other people to feel about us too.

As the line seems to imply, we have to accept ourselves more than we want to be accepted by others.

Once we’ve accepted and loved ourselves first, then we can be able to find people who accept and love us too.

Related: 11 Reasons Why Imperfect Is the New Perfect

2. Believe that you are enough

“…and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.”

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Belonging requires self-acceptance, which starts by recognizing that we are enough.

As a human being, you are valuable in spite of your quirks and flaws. We are good enough to be loved and respected.

You have to believe that the person you choose to be and feel most comfortable as is enough to attract people who can become close in your life.

Related – You Are Enough – 10 Things That Don’t Define Your Worth

3. Practice self-love

“Now I understand that in order to feel a true sense of belonging, I need to bring the real me to the table and that I can only do that if I’m practicing self-love.”

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Along with the idea of loving yourself before others can love you, self-love is a great way to accomplish that.

The better you treat yourself, the better you’ll expect others to treat you. Self-love is all about doing what’s good for you and what brings joy to your life.

Here are a few different ways you can practice it.

  • Sleep well
  • Eat well
  • Exercise regularly
  • Smile and laugh often
  • Get in nature
  • Meditate
  • Express gratitude

You can learn more about self-love in my article, “20 Ways to Practice Self-love and Be Happy With Yourself.”

4. Be a part of something larger than you

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us.”

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Often the way we end up finding a sense of belonging with a group of people is through shared common interest.

Two common examples are political and religious groups. People who identify as liberal or conservative feel like they’ve discovered a tribe that reflects their values.

The same is the case with people who join religious groups like Christianity and Islam.

People reach a point of wanting something deeper in life and they find a church that accepts them and makes them feel a part of something.

Think about the interests that you find yourself passionate about. Once you’ve got a few ideas, look for groups that specifically focus on your passion.

You can see if you can meet up with the people there and see how much you feel accepted and supported by them.

Final thoughts

You can be yourself and be loved at the same time. We’re fortunate that technology has opened us up to connecting with like-minded people all over the world.

But remember that it’s important to work on being comfortable and connected with yourself first.

When you feel really good about yourself no matter what others think, you won’t feel any desire to compromise who you are.

It’s a powerfully freeing feeling when you know that you don’t have to be or act a certain way to be accepted.

More inspirational articles

Sharing is Caring:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *