The Loneliness of "Fitting In"

I haven’t posted here in a while between my podcast and that pesky day-job filling up my time, but this month’s Hoagies Blog Hop is on The Power of Belonging, which is a topic near and dear to my heart! After all, my theme for 2019 is building community! It also brings me full circle to one of my first posts for the Hoagies Gifted Blog Hops in 2014 on Gifted Friendships called Connected Yet Disconnected? Have I really been doing this for almost 5 years?

The Loneliness of "Fitting In" -  The Power of Belonging

You see, I was extremely fortunate to be raised in a family and extended community who really “got me,” and it wasn’t until adulthood that I really realized just how rare that is for an outside-the-box thinker like myself. I come from multiple generations of gifted and likely twice-exceptional family on both sides, and my parents found a spiritual home in the Unitarian Universalist Community where I grew up. My dad even convinced some family friends to attend the same Spanish Immersion school, so I had a solid foundation of friendship even going into school.

Having that sense of true belonging early on, I never felt the need to “fit in.” In fact, I actively resisted fitting in in more conventional spaces like school. Down the road, it was so rare for me to find one existing group where I felt I belonged, I had the tendency to just create my own groups. But, you see, I knew such spaces existed because I had found them and/or created them before.

A common theme I’ve found as I interview gifted and outside-the-box thinkers on the Embracing Intensity Podcast is that most are not so lucky. Many have taken a life time to find that place where they belong, or are still looking for it. It can be difficult to find if you’ve never seen it exist.

So many spent years finding ways to “fit in” instead of belong. Becoming chameleons, as Heather Boorman would say, or creating personas that we think will help us blend in. The problem is that fitting in can leave us feeling empty, while belonging fills us up!

As Brene Brown says, “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

So how do we find this belonging?

On our posts on Gifted Friendships, Paula Prober had some great suggestions for where to find gifted connection and belonging in her posts Lonely? Find Your Pips. Part One and Part Two, and I offer suggestions in this post on feeling Connected Yet Disconnected? If you are inclined to create your own community, I wrote a post on Creating Community here.

I’ve spent so much time in my past creating my own community that this year, I decided that I needed to extend this to include the new Embracing Intensity Community. I’ve scheduled 12 course calls, 10 guest speaker calls, 4 PNW Potlucks and a weekend unconference this summer! All of these are either free, or cost of food/materials, but the call recordings and deeper community discussion can be found in the Embracing Intensity Community where you can support our efforts and sustain them into the future!

Whether you have found belonging or are still looking for it, just know that it’s out there and with the wonders of the internet, it’s so much easier to find than it once was!

This has been a part of the Hoagies Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on The Power of Belonging.