Where do you belong?

In my household, we are holding onto the final few weeks of summer before Sam enters 7th grade and what I feel is the "crux" of middle school.

I work hard not to project the insecurities of my own 13 year-old self onto him.....those insecurities were deep and wide.

I didn't belong. Anywhere.

Of course...those were just painful thoughts that I built evidence for everyday... and I suffered for it. When you are a people pleaser and you get your self worth from other people's feedback - and people aren't pleased.....there is a deep hole of emptiness and a void of worth. At least that was true for me.

I'd love to tell you a story that my journey from 7th grade created a path of resilience and grit, but in reality the same challenges I had in 7th grade, I still face today in a small community, in my business and in family and friendships.

Often times my ideas, goals, dreams, and "way of being" doesn't fit in and it can feel "lonely" standing all alone in it.

In Brene Brown's book, Braving the Wilderness, she shares this definition of True Belonging:

True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

So, I guess the better question to ask is:

Who are you? When you can answer that question....then I guess you belong wherever you are.

As leaders in life, family, work and community - we have an opportunity to create a culture of belonging and inclusivity of diverse perspectives when we foster an environment of self knowing, awareness and respect- starting from within and encouraging others to do the same.

I was recently in a conversation with someone I love very much and we have very different views on immigration and diversity and prosperity in our country. I found myself working hard to find common ground and to better understand the perspective. I could see that the child in me was afraid that if I was truly honest with my thoughts...I would be rejected. I also realized that I was not nearly as clear as he was about my own opinion.

I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to get clear and hone in on my own values, perspective, boundaries and voice - so that I can bring that clarity and integrity with me wherever I go.

It would be so much easier to avoid this deep work and revert to judging others for their views and values that are different than mine... tempting for sure.

BUT I would rather truly belong.

How about you? Where do YOU Belong?

Sending you lots of love on this Friday. JenV

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