Belonging, an essential part of our existence, can become a double edged sword. Allow me to explain. It seems that our need to belong can stifle our drive to reach our full potential. To become fully who are are meant to be. I know this to be true in my life. The subject of belonging has been a painful one. Never really having experienced a secure sense of belonging while growing up left me yearning for and pre-occupied with finding a place where I felt welcome, could find sameness with others and a sense of being part of something.  I must admit that this is a tireless and, at times, painful journey that resulted in many revelations as well as disappointments. For many years I was adrift floating, seeking and suffering.  As a young woman I did not have the eyes to  see how this might be a gift in my life and the impetus for growth and reaching my potential.  Which, by the way, is always unfolding. These experiences of not belonging most definitely pushed me beyond my comfort zone. As such I continue to find myself and strengthen my resolve to stand on my own two feet. A process that happens over and over again as I emerge and change. I must admit, at times it’s lonely. Sacrificing belonging to be true to myself, my values and what I believe in is not always easy. One must believe that there are greater forces at work in the universe in order to do such inner work. The pain of not belonging cuts deep but not nearly as deep as feeling I have sacrificed my integrity to fit in. The older I get, and hopefully wiser,  the more I come to know myself. A process that is constantly emerging and sometimes messy. The more I find a sense of belonging within myself and in the larger context of the world and universe the more I am able to connect with the essence of human nature we all share.  The delightful discovery I’ve made is that my need for belonging is met in a much different way than I could have ever imagined. It’s unconditional. Now the questions that beg to me are… can we make room for each other to emerge fully as individuals while still extending an unconditional invitation to belong?  Can belonging offer us a place of security from which to become fully who we are meant to be? As a parent I strive every day to invite all aspects of my children to exist. I extend an unconditional invitation for them to be exactly who they are and I convey that they belong no matter what. Not based on performance nor behaviour.  I believe without a doubt that this will give them a strong platform from which to grow. This sense of belonging offers such security and from here we can find our wings. When belonging is unconditional we have the freedom to become who we are, the courage to find our way and the strength to stand on on our own two feet. This poem by Robert Frost speaks to what I’m trying to say here…


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin

Leave a comment