Monday, November 2, 2015

Fitting In

Nic and his beautiful wife Radhika, BELONG-ING
Be Where You Belong

Last week, when I wrote about belonging and feeling worthy, my friend Nic commented that he knows that he belongs when he is comfortable. In other words, Nic is comfortable in an environment where he  belongs.

On the surface, this seems too simplistic, but I should tell you a few things about Nic; he is always himself. Nic is a solid young man with strong ideas and values and he lives what he values and believes. Nic is authentically, authentic.

I believe that because he has learned to be himself, he has a very strong indicator of where he belongs. This is not to say that he does not feel discomfort; he does, and in those moments he checks himself; “Am I doing what I set out to do; is this in line with who I am?” Then he looks at the room, “Is there where I belong?”

As I reflected on Nic’s comment I realized how profoundly useful this thinking is. I looked over my own life and times of discomfort and realized that in practically every point of life changing discomfort and decision making, I was being asked to compromise my authenticity and my values. I was not where I needed to be; I did not belong.

Many years ago, I hosted a nationally syndicated TV show. At the end of the first season, I was given a “choice.” I could cut my dreadlocks off and do salacious topics, and have the show renewed or not and have the show canceled.

I was also told that if I did make the changes, I would receive a signing bonus of a million dollars. This was in the nineties when a million was still a million. I was caring for my family and working hard, so I did not take this decision lightly. Still, I was terribly uncomfortable.

My reason for doing television was for the purpose of uplifting and informing people. I had been hired with the promise that I could be myself and do just that, but then I was told to do and be the opposite.

I thought hard and long and the more my thoughts drifted away from my values, the more uncomfortable I was. Ultimately, I decided to be where I belonged.

The show was canceled, in spite of high ratings and growth.

We spend our lives trying to figure how to get folks to like us, when we don’t fully know or like ourselves. (By the way, it is also true that people who love themselves don’t have a hard time liking others.)

Spend less time trying to belong and more time knowing where to belong.

Spend less time trying to get folks to like you, and more trying to like yourself.

Spend less time trying to fit something that doesn’t fit you and more time being where you belong.

As my young friend Nic points out, when you belong, you will be comfortable.

Be your best self, be where you can be your best self, be comfortable.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

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