Have you ever been in a room full of people and felt completely invisible? You know everyone around you but you don’t seem to exist in their world? Unfortunately, this has happened to me way too often: at work, at home, at church, with friends, during holidays, etc. When this happens, I think to myself: What is wrong with me? Why don’t they want to be friends with me? Why don’t they want to talk to me?
I have recently come to the conclusion that, really, there is nothing wrong with me. I may be in a different life stage than others around me. I may have different beliefs than others. My role/title make connections difficult. Or any other many reasons.
What it really comes down to is me not wanting to be like everyone else around me. I have my own ideals, beliefs, ideas, standards, etc. that may (and often do not) fit in with those around me. I am different, unique and original. So how do I handle that?
Well, there are a few things I could do. I could focus on the fact that I am not like others, that they don’t like me or my opinions, etc. I could try to find people who think, act or behave like me. Or I could just be me and be prepared for resistance from those around me.
None of these are easy options. The first option focuses purely on the negative. It would put me into a deep dive into my depression. The last two options are both easier said than done. But doing them at the same time will be a bit easier for me because it allows me to be me. Deep down I like who I am.
It comes down to this question: do I want to fit in or do I want to belong? I ask the question like that because of recently reading and watching Brené Brown. Here is what she says on the subject. “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. Belonging is being authentic and knowing that no matter what happens, you belong to you.”
Brené is very insightful. I want to belong without having to sacrifice my soul, my true self.
So what holds me back from being my true self? Fear. Fear of not being loved or accepted by those around me. Fear of never really belonging.
What would happen if I expressed my true thoughts or opinions on some issues that contradict those around me? Will they still accept me? Will they still love me? These are the thoughts and questions that run through my mind. These are the fears that prevent me from being really true to myself.
It is also these fears contrasting with my true desires that leaves me wondering where I belong. Will I ever be able to find that place I am searching for? I think I had it once but I cannot be sure, not completely.
What do I do in the meantime? I try to accept me for me and pray the people around me will do the same. I try to be confident in who I am. I slowly start opening the doors to those around me, to see if they will really accept me for me. Once I start doing that, I can move forward. It may not be down the path I had originally intended, but it would be a forward movement, which is better than where I am now – STUCK.
I gotta say, Jesus is awesome! Here is a guy who never questioned Himself or those around Him. He just accepted them. God, Himself, accepts people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter their past – it only matters what is in their heart. Can you say the same thing about those around you? Do you accept those around you, no matter what? Do you withhold judgement, knowing that is not your place?
Jesus quoted the laws as taught by the Jewish leaders. They felt His interpretations, and new teachings for that matter, were blasphemous. It went completely against what they had been teaching. Love your neighbours! What is that about? Love your enemies!!! Never! Love God! Okay, yes, we can go along with that.
Really that is what it all comes down to.
The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34
Beyond all of this, I know that no matter what I am going through, whatever thoughts or opinions I may have, there are 2 things I know for sure. 1. God is real, He is my Lord and Saviour, who sent His one and only Son to die for me and my sins. 2. God loves me and I belong to and with Him. One day, when my life is over, I will be by His side. I can take comfort in that while I try to figure out where I belong until that time comes.
Do you try to fit in? Or have you found where you belong? Respond in the comment section below.
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