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  • Writer's pictureElfreda Manahan-Vaughan

Belonging is not Fitting In

I was doing a jigsaw recently and it got me thinking about how one know when they fit in, in the world. Sometimes you can make a jigsaw piece fit where it doesn't belong but ultimately it will be found out and the jigsaw won't come together if it stays where it is.

When you try to fit in you are forcing yourself to be something you are not to align yourself with the needs or wants of others. Over time this makes you feel disconnected from yourself and makes you question whether you are really wanted at all, or is it the version of you you portray to fit in.

This got me thinking about what it feels like to fit in. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll see I posted a reel about this. Belonging is an attachment need and when it is met it contributes to your feelings of secure attachment. Belonging is also a feeling, it is the feeling that you have a place in the world and that you are wanted. Being an NLP trained coach, I was intrigued to see if I could create the feeling of belonging within myself and how it would change how I felt in the world.

I started by practicing belonging was I went for my daily walk. I repeated in my head, 'If I belonged how would I feel?' I started to soften in my body. I swung my arms more. I payed less attention to other people but also more attention to saying hello. I found myself smiling as I walked around feeling like I was exactly where I was meant to be and that no one would judge me for being there. I relaxed, boy did I relax.

I also thought about how I would be if I felt like belonged in work contexts. I had meeting coming up so I mentally rehearsed before I went. I thought about my posture, my tone of voice, the words I would use, how tense or relaxed I would feel. I considered my feelings of stress or anxiety and I noticed my breath. Much as I suspected just like my walk the feeling of being relaxed of not having to perform of just being became very apparent. I knew I was on to something and as this was part of a bigger personal project of creating self-love and security with my own self and the parts of me who show up when I am struggling, I decided to create and online workshop to share this with others.

Through this process I have understood that belonging is fundamental to feeling of self love. When you belong you trust yourself, you are not afraid of the judgement of others, you feel confident and you feel like you matter. These are all the feelings that go with secure attachment and if you bring secure attachment to yourself and the parts of you who feel like they don't belong then you can feel more secure in the world.

I am so excited to share this with others. The workshop will be practical and filled with mindfulness and somatic practices. Booking is open until the 26th and the workshop starts at 7pm that Tuesday. The replay, handouts and a guided meditation are all included. you can book here. I'd love to see you there.

Thanks for reading. I hope our paths cross again in future,


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