Are you a butterfly or a chameleon?
Asalam free butterflies, I hope you are doing very well. As we all know, positive affirmations are extremely powerful in our life, and one of my favorite affirmations is:"Don't Try to Fit In, Aim to Belong Instead ". Many of us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted. Fitting in and belonging are often mistaken as synonyms, yet they have very different meanings and very different impacts on our lives. Brené Brown does an excellent job of describing both of these terms and describing how fitting in gets in the way of belonging in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are . Fitting in is about evaluating a situation you find yourself in and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted by others. Belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. Rather, it requires us to be who we are. Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this desire is so primal, we often try to attain it by fitting in, seeking approval, and changing who we are. As Brené Brown explains, we experience true belonging when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. Many of us suffer from this constant struggle of being who we really are versus changing who we are to be accepted by our peers. We do this in so many ways: working at a job you don’t enjoy only because it pays the bills, but being too afraid to quit to manifest your passions; saying things you don’t actually mean when you’re with friends only because you want to be cool; These are only a few examples of ways in which we are playing small in our lives by trying to fit in. We are not being authentic and we are not putting ourselves in situations where we belong. The truth is belonging begins with self-acceptance. Our level of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. According to Brené Brown, this is because believing that we are enough is what gives us the courage to be authentic, vulnerable, and imperfect. When we don't have that self-acceptance and courage, we are like chameleons, continuously changing in reaction to our environment just to be "worthy." Yet, the worthiness we are searching for is already inside of us, but we find ourselves too afraid to flash our true colors to the world like a free butterfly . When I began to dig deep and listen to my heart, my life began to change. There has been a shift inside me over the past few years. I have deeper connections with the people around me because I am present, but also because I am not afraid to be myself. Those who like me just the way that I am don't care about my flaws and imperfections. And those who care, don't matter. This shift has been difficult, and there are still areas where I struggle, but that's also what makes me real. Can you identify ways in which you have been trying to fit in versus belong in any area of your life? Have you successfully shifted your life from trying to be perfect and self-sufficient in accepting and sharing your imperfections and vulnerabilities? Keep on moving forward with courage. Lots of love.