Have you ever been so desperate to belong that you’ve altered yourself in the process of trying?
I remember this particular group of people that drew me somehow.
Its members were different to me, but they seemed really happy… well-connected.
It made so much sense to be part of that group, because I saw them regularly and it seemed like a convenient set-up.
I didn’t relate to their humour; their choices of conversation topics didn’t really interest me… and I didn’t even ‘like’ myself when I was around them.
Nonetheless, I felt compelled to seek their approval and be part of what they had.
I wanted to be accepted as a member of their group because the feeling of acceptance held more appeal than the notion of being myself.
But it never felt right.
I lost a part of myself in the process of trying to fit in.
And the group was steered by a narcissistic person who preferred followers to equals.
It took a lot of self-reflection to realise that I didn’t actually enjoy being in this group, and that other groups made me much happier.
Other friends brought out the best in me rather than forcing me into an uncomfortable mould.
I realised I had a choice, and the choice of being me – rather than the chameleon I was trying to be – was much more healthy than my misguided attempts to fit in.
Knowing I had a choice, and that I didn’t have to change myself in the name of friendship or ‘belonging’ was liberating!
And knowing there were places where being myself was acceptable and valued… that was even better!