October 31

I didn't belong as a kid, and
that always bothered me.  If only
I'd known that one day my differences
would be an asset, then my early
life would have been much easier.

Bette Midler


Today's Meditation:

I was kind of like Bette when I was a kid, always feeling that I didn't belong.  What I've come to learn since then, though, is that most of that lack of belonging came from me, from my own feelings of not belonging, and not necessarily because I really didn't belong.  I felt like I didn't belong, so I acted like I didn't belong.  And as long as I acted like that, how else were other people supposed to treat me?

Much of the way I felt came from the fact that my father was in the military and we moved around rather often.  That meant that I was often starting out in new schools where I didn't know anyone else.  That really didn't end up mattering, as I always made a friend or three to spend time with, but the fact was that even with them, I felt that I didn't belong, and that they were somehow doing me a favor by being my friend.  But again, those were my feelings, not the way that things were.

We don't realize as kids that having a couple of good friends is all that anyone can ask for, and once you have those, it doesn't really matter if you "fit in" with the social order as it stands.  So what if you don't "fit in" with those people who are always wearing the latest fashions, or who are smoking across the street or who are going hunting as soon as the season opens?  You are who you are, and one of the important tricks in life is to be with the people who accept you as you are and enjoy your company--and whose company you enjoy.

We all have differences, but many of us hide them so that we'll "fit in" with others.  Those differences, though, if we develop them and celebrate them, can help us to make something very special and very unique of our lives, so we shouldn't worry at all if we're not just like everyone else--we should be grateful that that's the case. 

Questions to consider:

What are some of the major differences inherent in who you are as a person?

Do you ever feel that you don't belong in some sort of setting?  Where do you think those feelings originate?

How might we help ourselves to realize that as human beings, we fully belong to communities of other human beings (except in those situations in which people make a purposeful effort to exclude others)?

For further thought:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep
from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you
will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price
is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

Friedrich Nietzsche

More on individuality.


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