Besides air, food, and water there are a few things we as humans really need, love and touch are on the list. But so is being heard and to belong. We all want to belong. Belonging feels like home. This subject of belonging has come up in many of the circles I have been a part of lately. Feeling like we don't belong, or having a hard time finding our tribe, where we can be authentic, vulnerable, and completely ourselves. Knowing we are held, witnessed, and most of all NOT JUDGED.
Sure it is easy to belong when we are showing up wearing the masks, doing whatever it takes to fit in, but then feeling completely out of place and out of integrity on the inside, which is not fun. But when we make the choice to show up as we are, and who we are, to cast off the robes of oppression and be the rule-breakers, the truth-tellers, the rebels and the creatives, it is much more difficult. All of a sudden the invitations dry up.
And so two different teachers approached the subject of belonging in two different and profound ways. And one is my way of being in the world of belonging and the other is not so familiar, in fact, it can be terrifying.
"You have to include yourself in order to belong."
-Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Yes, this is the one I struggle with, always have. At women's retreats, networking events, asking to be included..to go out to lunch...to be part of the conversation already going on. This is hugely uncomfortable for me. And yet a necessary act of braveness. What if they say no? What if they say yes? Sometimes yes, you have to claim your inclusion and not wait for it.
I am inspired by my son whom I have watched in these last two weeks, at the pool, seeing kids he knows but are not part of his inner circle at school just walk up and say, "Hey, can I hang out with guys?" So, so brave. I am proud of him when I see it, but I don't point it out because it is so natural for him to do that, I don't want to domesticate him and have him think too much about it until he develops a fear.
My other teacher in a circle where a woman was feeling hurt for not being invited to things and having a hard time finding her tribe in a new town said. "I stopped waiting to be invited, and started doing the inviting." -Elayne Kalila Doughty
YES! Ok, that is more my jam. I have always invited. If I don't see things that interested me or that feel resonant I create them, and I invite. This is how it has always been for me. Hell, it is why I opened Amused Woman Studios, so I could have a place to invite women to. I invite because I never want anyone to feel left out, everyone is invited, exactly as they are, exploring topics that are otherwise scary to discuss in mixed company. I invite because being in our self-expression without judgment is like air and water for me.
So for me, the work will be experimenting with including myself, because the inviting is easy. Asking to be included when I see something interesting and see there are women I would like to get to know better.
Which of these is in your comfort zone? Or is it neither or both? Are you willing to stretch out of your comfort zone and be willing to include yourself or to invite others? Will you run the experiment?
Please share if you are willing and the results. I would love to hear about how you feel a sense of belonging.