I've always had a strong belief that I didn't belong. I was the Englishman growing up in France. I was the French guy going to University in the UK.
Always a nagging sensation of being different. Of not quite fitting in. Of being disconnected, even when in the presence of the closest of friends.
Over my years of working with others and getting to understand the human psyche at a deeper level, I can easily say that this is in fact very common.
We can go through life feeling not quite entirely here. Like the world around us is different to us. Like we are misunderstood. Like the others are in the know, but that we aren't.
Or the opposite: like we are better than others. Like we must belong to the elite. To THE best group.
We feel the separation. In our minds, in our bodies, in our hearts.
If we listen to the quantum physicists, the buddhists, and to many spiritual practices out there, we are all living in a field of energy, a quantum soup. At our deepest essence, we are all atoms of energy and information. We are all one.
Yet this idea of oneness is very nice in theory, but it's pretty obvious that our physical reality is different.
There IS separation. There is duality. YOU are different to ME. There is a physical space between myself and the person next to me...if I got any closer to them they might start getting creeped out.
So this oneness idea, it's very cute and lovey-dovey, but if you look at the truth of it, it's pretty far removed from what we experience on a daily basis, right?
Instead of feeling part of the infinite universe, we often feel like we are in fact the only one who isn't. This feeling and this voice of not belonging comes from the stories of our own externalised sadness. It's kind of like assuming that others are different or don't want us.
It can wreak havoc in our lives, as we change our behaviours, appearances, impulses, and expression to fit in, to be accepted, to be part of it.
Over the years of connecting more and more to myself and getting closer to my heart, this sense of disconnection has slowly begun to fade. Sure, at times it still flares up like an old sore. Yet nowadays I am more able to meet it with love, understanding and even curiosity.
The fact that you are different to your partner, your father and Barack Obama is in reality one of your greatest gifts: you get to experience your own individuality, your own unique expression, your own path. Sure, you also experience the pain, the darkness and the fear, but these are all part of your journey of growth.
That being said, here are three things you can start doing today to begin feel like you belong:
Question your thoughts and feelings:
Whenever you notice yourself going into your regular sadness stories of aloneness and disconnection, take a minute to question them. Ask yourself if they REALLY are the truth, if you are ABSOLUTELY sure of them... or if they maybe, in fact, completely made up. And find examples of why you are in fact connected and surrounded instead.
Deepen your connection with your body and heart:
One of my most powerful realisations was when I saw that my feelings of disconnection from others were in fact my feelings of disconnection from my own self. And the more I have been connecting to my body and heart, the more connected I have felt with others around me. Commit to your own journey, your own path towards listening to and honouring your body and your heart - it may be scary but in fact its a lifetime of adventure.
Ground yourself into your life:
When we don't feel a sense of support or structure, we can feel a strong feeling of unease, disconnection and separation. By creating grounding structures, we go deeper into our own lives. Like trees growing strong roots, it then becomes harder for external things to shake us. Honour your boundaries, create some structure and acknowledge the support around you - from yourself to yourself, and from other to you too.
Take the time to practice these steps, observe yourself, forgive yourself every day and keep your focus on what you really want: a strong connection with yourself, the world you live in and those you love. Bit by bit, you'll let go of the layers and the stories that stop you from seeing the truth of just how much you DO belong. Just as you are, right now. And always have.
Love & Health,