To brave the wilderness and become the wilderness we must learn how to trust ourselves and trust others.
‘Belonging’ … what emotions does that word bring up in you?
For me belonging is a complicated concept. I left Australia at the age of four and returned at fourteen. During these first years of my life I lived in eight different cities. I never lived in a country for more than three years at a time. I am what is called a Third Culture Kid (TCK).
I was Australian by birth, English by accent and international in outlook.
Some of the places that I still feel most comfortable are airports, airplanes and hotels. These are by definition places of transition. These are places that are temporary and in constant flux. They are not places to establish roots.
Belonging for me, as a child, became an exercise in fitting in as quickly as possible to my new country, my new culture and (crucially) my new school. People-pleasing was a survival strategy and adapting became second nature to me.
These are habits that have carried over into adulthood. A constant sensitivity to what people may be thinking. A chameleon-like tendency to blend into the background. An adaptive nature that takes into account other people before myself.
In Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown crucially distinguishes between belonging as I have described above; a false belonging of fitting in, people-pleasing or being part of the crowd. She adds that important other word true, to belonging.
When Brené says in her definition of true belonging that, ‘True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.’
My natural question is, ‘How do I know who I am?’
Thankfully this is a question that I have asked myself numerous times over the years.
I am more sure of who I am now, in my early forties, than I would have been in my twenties. I have grown into an understanding of what is not true to my essence and comes from my desire to fit in. I can now pinpoint more accurately what genuinely comes from my core.
It’s not been easy, it’s required that I do the work, the important internal work of asking myself, ‘What do I really think about this?’ and ‘What do I feel about that?’
It has required that I turn off the internal filter that monitors exactly what everyone else believes. It has required me to sit with opinions and feelings that may be contrary to what others think. It has required me to be vulnerable with myself and with others. It is deeply uncomfortable. It goes against all the survival strategies I learned as a child.
I am not there yet. I still have days, where I come home and kick myself, because I chose the easy path. The path of fitting in and comfort. But I am finding, the more I practice this internal work of trusting myself, the more I feel truly me.
So my question to you today is: What gets in the way of being who you are?
Comment below, or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook group, ‘Mondays with us’.
As we continue to brave the wilderness together,
8 thoughts on “Chapter Two: Who am I?”
I could be you!!
That jolly people pleasing thing – I am getting better, I think, at not worrying so much about it. I think at the end of the day we worry that if we say what we think, be who we really are, people will not like us. Maybe we won’t be cool enough, sweet enough or just “the same” enough, if that makes sense?
I am learning to trust who God has made me to be. That it’s ok to not think the same as ‘the norm’ or ‘the trends’ say we ought. However, it’s a battle and I wonder if I speak out loud about what’s in my heart perhaps I won’t be so loved….darn that people pleasing thing…..so yes I too am changing and learning a new way and hope I can do it with Grace!
thanks for your words Jodie
Yep Steph, that makes total sense. As you mention, I think trust is the key, that’s why I put that quote at the top of the post. Trust in God, self and others.
I know what you mean about it being a battle. I have to give myself grace when I misstep or make mistakes, remembering it’s a journey. A hard but good journey.
Such a great question , Jodie.
Lots of things get in the way of me being my true self-insecurity being the big one.
Can’t wait to discuss this one further.
Ah Elaine, Brené Brown never fails to get to the heart of things does she?!
Who am I? Ha ha the eternal question. However I am realising the older I get the clearer it gets. Asking myself questions like this regularly is an amazing gift to my life. And also having accountability and friends to remind me in those seasons when I forget. How much is belonging shaped by how we see ourselves first and foremost. It doesn’t matter how many times someone tells us we belong, unless we believe it. Then it’s never going to change.
So true Amanda, that sometimes we lose sight of who we are and we need trusted and true friends to remind us too. Great point.
BRAVING is such a qreat concept. As someone that has always endeavoured to fit in by not having a voice and putting others ahead of myself it is all part of the journey. Now to just allow myself the time to sit with God, value who He designed me to be and allow that girl to rise to the surface.
So true Sabrina. I love that you say that, it’s a journey too, sometimes I get frustrated with my slow progress.
Comments are closed.