Is Your Need to Belong Blocking Your Success?
If you are altering who you are in order to fit in, this becomes a problem. This goes for both your personal and professional lives. Most of us are so afraid of being judged and exiled from the group that we don’t let our true being shine. We are afraid of getting kicked out of the group. For a long time, I thought this was just my own insecure hang-up, but I’ve come to realize this is a BIG deal for A LOT of people. Upon further reading and studying, I have learned that this is indeed very normal and deeply rooted in all of us.
We need to start looking at where we are holding back from being who we really are; our true, authentic selves. If we’re really being honest, what does that version look like? Where are you hiding and not showing-up as that person?
Don’t think for a second this only pertains to your personal life. It’s just as bad, if not worse, in your business. The need to fit in and be liked by your peers and clients, and even by your mentors is very strong.
I recently had an experience where I wasn’t invited to something professionally related, and it struck a cord. A deep one. At first I felt bad, then I felt myself going down a shame spiral. Instead of leaving it at just feeling left out, I started feeling “not good enough” or “smart enough” or successful enough” or not “whatever enough”, but just not “worthy enough” essentially to be invited. Thankfully, I reached out for help – which in the past I would have suffered alone – to a close-knit group of business owners where we can come and share our “dirty laundry” without being judged and even more importantly where we our feelings are validated. I instantly felt better and just a few short hours afterward attracted a huge opportunity into my life. The non-invite no longer even mattered, and of most importance, I stopped feeling “not good enough”.
We are so strongly needing to belong, that we actually start feeling badly about ourselves internally when we don’t feel connected to the group, and that we are in some way a bad person. If we don’t catch it in the moment, it can take us down a rabbit hole of shame and doubt, thus emphasizing a low self-worth.
So…what can we do about it. First, be ourselves always. Isn’t it exhausting trying to be someone you’re not? I know first hand all about this as I am an only child. I know all too well what it looks like to mold who I am to fit into any situation with any type of person in order to belong. Heaven forbid I be left alone!! What ended up happening though, is I often held back on how I really felt except when around my closest friends. I now use this to skill to my advantage – knowing that I can connect with anyone in any situation – but not jeopardizing who I am at the same time.
So own who you are, and the right people will be attracted to you. Tell yourself repeatedly when in a new situation that You Are Enough. Exactly the way you are.
Have a support team of people who you know you can go to who will not judge you and who will be supportive, so that you can bounce things off them when you start to feel left out. Catch it early. You may want several different groups of people who you can reach out to for different situations. I find this to be the most effective.
Above all else love yourself. At yoga earlier this week during savasana, the message was, “Let go of all that’s left stopping you from loving yourself. Let it go. It’s not you.” I so love this. From my heart to yours, you are enough and always will be. Peace.