The Problem of Belonging

We hold this power in our hearts: the ability to accept or reject. Young human beings move from one group to another wondering–will they let me in? The playground. The athletic team. The lunch table. The new classroom. The return home from school each day to the place we call home, to the people we call family should be that place of acceptance. We know that too often it is just the opposite. 

 We go looking for jobs because we need money to survive and hopefully thrive in life, but those jobs are also the same search: will I be accepted here? Friends may represent some success with that search, or not. Love partners and spouses may represent a powerful example of acceptance . . . or not. What drives all of these examples is this notion that there is some group out there with that power . . . to accept me. I yearn for knowing deep within myself that I have a group of other human beings to whom I truly belong. 

There is just one thing wrong with this drive.  It is not the longing to be accepted.  It is not the yearning for belonging. Those, it would seem, are built within us. The problem is what we overlook.  Also built within us is the ability to begin the acceptance and the belonging with the next breath: “I accept myself, in this moment, just the way that I am.” Once we settle into that kind of belonging, it travels with us wherever we go. We can depend on it. And, best of all, we can share it. We become that person where another yearning soul finds belonging.

Once I begin to accept myself as I am, my heart begins to open to you.

–Bob Patrick

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4 Responses to The Problem of Belonging

  1. Rita Romero says:

    This is so true! It took me many decades to accept myself as I am. I’m still working on it. Thank you Bob☺️

  2. Peggy A says:

    I remember being in high school and not fitting in with the popular crowd in high school. I was too skinny, too shy, too country for them. I lived on a farm about 7 miles from the school and rode a bus to and from school every day. It took my 4 years of college to finally accept who I was, and to believe in myself. It certainly made a difference in how willing I was to accept others who were very different from me.

  3. Katrina Y says:

    A healthy level of self acceptance is the bottom line for the ever changing social, cultural and political circles we move through in life. Our view of self colors all our relationships. The primary divider is low self esteem, it makes victims of us and places us in an offense or defensive position, anything but equal. Personal self esteem is always a work in progress. No matter what we bring to the table of our humanity, we need to serve ourselves as well.

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