I remember standing in the cold on the sidelines of a soccer field (wearing the shorts that rode up in the middle when I walked), watching my lithe nine and ten-year-old teammates kick and cavort up and down the field – feeling a world apart from them.
I was so uncomfortable in my shorts I wanted to crawl out of my skin with shame.
I was so self conscious that I felt stupid with every word that came out of my mouth.
I was so awk
ward I didn’t know how to act in order to win over the most popular girls.
I felt like an alien.
What’s WRONG with me?
Something about me just didn’t fit with others.
This wasn’t super obvious from the outside. From the outside I was friendly and positive. But inside was another story. Inside I felt different. Separate. Like I just didn’t belong.
This wasn’t just how I felt as a kid. Not belonging chased me for decades.
It took me years to discover what had me feeling that way, and a few more to discover what it takes to truly feel a sense of belonging.
This is what I want to share with you. Because it’s not just about being more social, like we’re told.
And because over the last decade of helping men and women get free from food and other addictions, the one thing I’ve seen time and time again, is that the feeling of being different and of not belonging is perhaps, ironically, the most common quality we all share.
That’s right. Pretty much everyone thinks they are the odd one out.
Which is why I want to share with you the 3 things I needed to do in order to truly cultivate a deep sense of belonging.
I needed to:
Cultivate an authentic connection inside of my body – This wasn’t just about exercise or eating right. Feeling a true sense of belonging required me to learn how to feel at home in my skin. And as someone perpetually up in her head, this was no small feat. But once I learned what it takes, I discovered that coming home inside my body was the missing piece to so much of my alienation and sense of separation. It was truly the most intimate and memorable homecoming of my entire life.
Cultivate an authentic connection inside of a sisterhood – I’m not just talking about having more friends on Facebook. I’m talking about having a solid tribe of sisters who you can be real with. The kind of women who hold you and love you through the thick of things. Who get you, who you can build deep, meaningful friendships with and who can remind you that you are not alone when you forget.
Cultivate an authentic connection inside of Source – I’m not just referring to believing in Spirit or in having spiritual philosophies and speaking in spiritual slogans. I’m talking about real, true, gritty spiritual reliance. Where regardless of what’s going on in and around you, there is a deep unwavering sense inside that you are infinitely supported and going to be ok no matter what. (Up until this point, I used to have this feeling of not being ok and not knowing why. People irritated and annoyed me. I’d get impatient and constantly felt misunderstood.) Learning the art of Source-reliance led me to discovered a newfound sense of belonging within myself and within life itself.
Looking back, I would have loved to whisper words of encouragement to that awkward nine year old at the soccer field that day. I wonder how life would have turned out. But because we can’t rewind time, I’d like to say to you now what I would have told her:
You are amazing. Every unique aspect of you is priceless. You have more depth, wisdom and courage than you could ever imagine. What lies inside you is infinite. You are inherently worthy. Every piece of you matters. I’m so glad you’re here. You belong.
Here’s to more people on the planet not longer thinking that they don’t belong on it.
Here’s to embracing ALL of your parts (even the parts that don’t like parts of you).
Here’s to standing in your glorious brilliance.
And here’s to forever knowing deep down that you belong.