In order to feel like we fit in anywhere, we first need to embrace our vulnerable, true self. With all its imperfections, regrets and embarrassments. Because, needing acceptance from them, or outside-in, will never fill that unending hole on the inside. Only we can fill that for ourselves.
Now, that’s not to say that we don’t first need at least a few folks who know us and love us anyway. We need to know that we are lovable, to then internalize some of that love to begin loving and healing ourselves. This transformation from self-rejection to self-acceptance I think has a few crucial elements in order to happen.
- Owning what we think, feel and need. If we disown what we think and feel, we disown half of who we are and therefore cannot feel authentic nor feel like we can be ourselves with others. Without transparency and vulnerability our relationships are two-dimensional and can feel surface and somewhat empty.
- Healthy Boundaries. We need to determine where we end and others begin, how we deserve to be treated and treat others in kind. There is no greater demonstration of self-acceptance than this, and helps create better relationships.
- Better Self-Discipline. We need to be able to trust ourselves to follow through on tasks, on promises, and to be able to take good care of ourselves, especially financially and physically. Without self-discipline we cannot feel good about ourselves and thus want others to really know us. Without discipline we also cannot reach our goals.
- Honoring What Our Special Gifts Are and How We Want To Use Them. We don’t need to be like everyone else anymore. We can begin to discern what we love to do, what we are pretty good at or even exceptional at, and how we can use these gifts to make a better world. We have something to contribute! And even though none of us are good at everything, our inborn skills and interests make us special and needed by others who have different gifts.
- What We Believe and What We Value. Our beliefs, how we see the world and what we value is a huge part of who we are, whether we are aware of this or not. Being intentional about our values, “growing into” ones we aspire to have helps define who we are and who we are becoming. Having our “why” makes us feel whole, gives us purpose and creates self-trust as we live them out.
- Healthy Grief Work and Self-Forgiveness. Only by acknowledging what happened, how it impacted all our subsequent struggles and choices we’ve made can we truly honor the self. Feeling the feelings never expressed, honoring their importance and giving ourselves compassion and understanding helps us to ultimately forgive ourselves, which is crucial to reducing our shame.
So fitting in with others who we can feel we relate to, vibe with and share values and world view has more to do with how secure we can be within ourselves. To belong to ourselves first. That way we are not only more confident, but more secure in knowing where we want to belong.