I Belong Here
“We step up and face the situation (clean pain), or we fold and shrink away. We either grow up or flee. We make an internal commitment to growing up.” Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands.
There are many facets to this process of growing up. We begin with knowing ourselves, and this requires courage and empathy. We begin to see we are in fact worthy of knowing. We respect our life’s circumstances and what we had to do to survive. A rush of kindness and compassion pushes out shame and unworthiness.
We will never feel at home in our body and our lives until we dare to know ourselves, and vulnerably express who we are to at least some others. Being included when we’re not really ourselves doesn’t feel real. We feel uneasy. What will happen when they find out I’m not really who I’m pretending to be? This might be blatant, like someone finding out we are gay. It is often more subtle, and it almost always relates to social inclusion or exclusion.
We all know moments of joy and connection when we share and are accepted for who we really are. This doesn’t happen everywhere and with everyone. We can’t trust everyone. At work and sometimes with family and friends, we have to be strategic. We don’t want to put weapons in their hands by being too vulnerable, and we don’t want to live that gray half-life of being accepted, but feeling like a fake.
There is a cost for hiding and a cost for being open. Isolation and mistrust hurt us. There are no right and wrong answers for how we negotiate this in our life and relationships. The foundation of being able to afford authenticity is that we know and love ourselves. External experiences of being the outsider or the “weird one” don’t land as hard, because we are completely acceptable to ourselves! From this base of self-acceptance, we take the risk of connecting with others.
Soften your body and take a few deep breaths. Orient to the safety of this moment. Some of these are reverse inquiries, where we get a “no” when we say them. That might feel like a tight contraction in your body, or you notice you’re holding your breath. Pause when you notice a change in response. Use tapping, tracing and other tools to remain present and connected with yourself in this moment. Soften again and continue.
I can afford to know and be my authentic self
I love what is unique about me
I am “good enough” to love as I am now
I am willing to step into uncertainty, to be present, to not avoid myself and my life
I am strong enough to cultivate trust and connection in and with a wider community
I cannot control other people’s capacity for clean pain
I cultivate being a resourced adult in my work and home relationships
Place a hand on your heart and tune in to your own basic goodness. Be kind to yourself.
“I look forward to connecting with my chosen family every week in Lynn’s Sunday community class. We reflect and share with people we can trust to listen. It feels safe to share who I am.” Sunday class participant