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Fitting in vs belonging

I was on a Mental Health First Aid course this week and we were asking to consider our own "window on the world" - all the experiences we've had, the background we come from, our family situation (past and current), the education we've received (and continue to) make up a frame of reference by which we see the world and ourselves.

One of the themes that came up for me was feeling alone. I had had this feeling for large parts of my life due to many reasons, some them being that I came from a small family, that my Dad died when I was in my late twenties, and that I left university early due to mental ill health.

It struck me then that my desire for connection was possibly stronger than those who had, for example, a large and close family and/or a long lasting close-knit group of friends. I recognised that my search for connection had possibly always been a bit intense. Coupled with my so-called "too-muchness" that I had felt frequently, this didn't always result in the connections that I had desired.

Being able to identify where my perspective and behaviours have come from has actually been really helpful to me. Whereas I do still seek connection - it is a natural human desire - I see this as a positive thing and fortunately am able to discern between the connections that benefit me (my people) and those that may not. I can then choose how I interact with each group. With my people, I belong. With others, whereas I may not necessarily belong, I am no longer trying really hard to fit in, as I can still appreciate spending time with people who I do not necessarily have a strong soul connection with.

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

Incidentally, I have also reframed the "too-muchness fairly recently into the words DRIVE, ENERGY, ENTHUSIASM & PASSION, all of which I'm really proud to possess.

Thank you for listening.

*if you enjoy the themes of these musings and would like to learn more, or join in similar conversations, please head over to The Listening House.

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