Searching to Belong

   We occasionally may have feelings of sadness, loneliness, or as if we don’t fit in. When we feel that we don’t belong it can be a difficult feeling to accept or process. As humans we are created to be part of community and to connect with other like minded individuals. When we reach points in our lives at school, in classes, in clubs, organizations, church, our neighborhoods or even in our friendships or families, when we may feel out of place it's hard to understand how to handle the feelings of not belonging. When this feeling creeps in it can feel as if there’s always someone watching, judging and grading us on the quirks that helps make us the unique, amazing individuals we are. These feelings of exclusion can have dangerous side effects but this is a pocket guide to what to remember when they find a place to break into our thoughts.

        We belong. This is the most important thing to understand above all. No matter what others may led us to believe through looks, rude comments or any feelings of discomfort we belong. No matter what room we walk into, what club we join, what friend group we choose or the place we call home, we each have a rightful place to be there. When judgment is pressing down on us this can be hard to believe but this is how we fight those feelings of exclusion. In places where we feel like we don’t belong being ourselves is how we make our mark.

       We matter. Everything that we do, everything that we say, and everything that we think and believe matters. Our thoughts automatically feed us lies, leading us to think that not only do we not belong but that we don't matter. The truth is each of us matters. When we feel as if we're on the outside of a group looking in, it's nothing to hold a grudge against. It means that group that we’ve tried so hard to be part of has lost a valuable potential member.

     No group worth joining will have us change ourselves, make us feel any less valued than we are or make us feel excluded. We have to move onto finding where we will be accepted, where our voices will be heard and where will be shown through actions that we truly matter.

     Belonging shouldn't require us to go on a far or long search but if it means finding realness, acceptance for who we are, non judgment, and a second home a quest for belonging may be what's necessary. Sometimes it takes us having to be put on the outside looking in to realize that what we were once part of or are attempting to be included in, doesn't offer as much as we’d like to believe. Feeling excluded could be one of the best things that has happened to us because it may have brought us to a crucial realization.

       This isn't always the case. Sometimes feeling like we don't belong finds a way to settle within us, but it doesn't always mean that the communities or groups that were part of are the reason why. Just as we may feel sad when everything around us is going right, exclusion can come and go just as quickly. We have to be conscious and careful when the feeling sinks in to find the source of why we have these feelings. Most of the time there's a fixable reason or sometimes no reason at all. Either way don't be too quick to say goodbye to a community or other relationships in life before understanding where these feelings are coming from. Feelings of exclusion are normal but we each belong, we each matter and we each have a place in.