Last week we talked about the need for authenticity in our sense of belonging. You can check out that post here.
The problem with fitting in vs. belonging is that fitting in requires constant performance. Think about your own life and how if you wanted to fit in to a group you had to become like the group for them to accept you. I remember when I was interviewing for a job that I really really wanted, I knew all of the right things to say to get that job, I knew I could make them like me! But a wise counselor told me that I wouldn’t be able to keep that up, that it would be wiser, and simpler to just be myself. So I went to the interview and simply just gave them my authentic self and decided if they didn’t want me for me, then I didn’t want them either!
Ritu Bhasin says when trying to belong to any group, it is helpful to examine:
- why you seek membership in a particular group,
- to what extent you are able to be your Authentic Self or Adapted (Performing) Self in order to belong in that tribe, and
- the negative impact of performing – how long can you keep it up and what damage are you doing to yourself and others just to fit in?
She says, the key message here is to never let fitting in take the place of true belonging.