Best selling author Brene Brown’s concept of fitting in versus truly belonging has stuck with me since I first heard of it two years ago. As an educator, this carries out in front of our eyes daily as we see students who struggle to find themselves, but also belong to a group of peers.
In Brene’s words, fitting in is NOT belonging:
“In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are.
Brown states in her book, “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”:
- “As it turns out, men and women who have the deepest sense of true belonging are people who also have the courage to stand alone when called to do that. They are willing to maintain their integrity and risk disconnection in order to stand up for what they believe in,” Brown said.
- When we “fit in” as opposed to “belong,” we acclimate to the situation instead of standing for our authentic self.
Brown says so well for all of us,what I know to be true in my own life. During various stages of my life, I have not fit in. I was too different (proud of my physical disability), too awkward, and too much of a “rule follower” in school.
Now, as an educator, I continue to help young at-risk youth with their sense of personal belonging and personal strength. As a result, for the next few days, I’ll be posting Don Miguel Ruiz’s FOUR AGREEMENTS. I enjoy using these when discussing the idea of contentment with youth.
Written by Don Miguel Ruiz
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.