Finding true belonging in a time of increasing complexity. What does that mean? Do we have to change who we are? In her book ‘Braving the Wilderness; The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone’ (2018), published by Ebury Publishing, Brené Brown describes what really matters to experience real connection.
You belong if you want to be somewhere and the others want you, exactly as you are. You only really belong if you are accepted for who you are. If you adapt, you will be accepted because you are the same as the rest and there will be no genuine connection.
Belonging does not require us to change ourselves. It requires us to be who we are. Brown teaches us that true belonging is not something that we negotiate or achieve together with others.
Brené states that you only really belong if you dare to be vulnerable. That can be uncomfortable. You have to find your place. To really belong, you don’t have to sacrifice who you are. And that requires trust and the courage to find your own way.
Brené Brown explains how to build trust in others:
Limits: You can ask others to respect your limits, if they are unsure about your limits, they can ask.
Reliability: You do what you say, you are honest and you know where priorities lie.
Responsibility: If you make mistakes, face them and try to make up for it again.
Confidentiality: You keep things that you should not share for yourself. It is important that you are not passing on things.
Integrity: You choose courage over convenience, you choose values and norms for things that are quick or easy.
Don’t judge: You can ask for what you need and I can ask for what I need. We can talk about what we feel without judgement.
Generosity: You open yourself to the intentions, words and deeds of others and you assume the best.
Besides trusting others, it’s also important to have confidence in yourself. To increase your self confidence, it’s important to regularly evaluate how you dealt with the former topics:
Limits: Have I respected my limits? Have I been clear about what is okay for me and what is not?
Reliability: Have I been reliable? Did I do what I said?
Responsibility: Have I taken my responsibility?
Confidentiality: Have I respected confidentiality and shared things appropriately?
Integrity: Have I acted fairly?
Don’t judge: Did I ask for what I needed? Have I been non-judgmental about the fact that I needed help?
Generosity: Have I been open and loving towards myself?
Finding your own way
You have to find your own way. This will not always be easy. It sometimes feels uncomfortable and unfair.
To belong somewhere we have to break down our own walls.
We have to listen to our hearts, instead of fear or pain. It’s about having difficult conversations, sharing pain and seeking joy. About being curious and vulnerable rather than being defensive.
How can you find your true belonging?