The desire to belong cost me myself

Have you ever been so desperate to belong that you’ve altered yourself in the process of trying?

I have.

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!

🙂 Ali


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