We all want a tribe, a team, a family, a band of brothers, a sisterhood, a church home. We may call it many different things but at the heart and core of this is the knowing in our bones that we belong. That no matter what, these people have our backs and we can show up in our raw mess and also our joyful beauty and know that neither one will jeopardize our place in the circle or at the table. We can't get voted off the island . . . at least not THIS island.
I believe we all want to belong just as strongly as I believe the sun will come up tomorrow morning; I take it as a truth.
But the jagged truth is that what we often experience in a team or a church home or even our families isn't belonging but fitting in. We know where the lines are, what is off limits, and how to tow the party line. These are different from healthy boundaries. Sometimes just having people to be with seems to be the price to pay for not being alone; because we are built for connection we will sell ourselves out to fit in. Anyone whose survived jr. high knows you might sell yourself out for a piece of gossip. I, too, have had seasons in which I've felt so alone I wondered if something was wrong with me; even though 'on the outside' everything looked fine.
The problem with settling for fitting in is that we never really show up, we never really let our true selves be seen. We stumble out of our sacred space of authenticity; I know, I'm stumbling every day too! I so appreciate Dr. Brené Brown's work on clarifying that fitting in is very different than belonging.
It reminds me of the band of disciples Jesus pulled around him; they belonged - it wasn't about fitting in for them; they asked their questions, tussled for places of honor, learned, tried to figure it out, and keep coming back to learn and be moved by Jesus some more. They belonged in a way that usurped their differences which were many; in a different situation Simon the Zealot just might have would driven a knife in Matthew's back.
I've been back home for a week after spending 6 incredible days with the Daring Way™ community of practitioners. People from all over the country and a few from Europe marinated together in the language of shame resilience and 'doing the work' - experiencing the Daring Way™ curriculum as participants. I've done the curriculum several times now but I always learn something new. And I'm so thankful for the people in my group; it was such a blessing to be together. . . to be a tribe.
And this experience makes me reflect back with gratitude on other tribes I'm in that get belonging and check 'fitting in' at the door.