Belonging is a feeling brought out by actions. Actions speak louder than words. Words have no meaning unless steps are taken to back up those words. So when you tell someone they belong but make it absolutely clear they don't then you are part of the problem.
I Don't Know Where I Belong
I've always felt as if I am better able to help others when I explain my situation. If you are my friend and have interacted with me you probably know the type of person I am. I'll list off my negative traits for you to paint the perfect picture.
- I'm an overthinker.
- I'm sensitive.
- I used to be more opinionated but I now avoid conflict more than lumberjacks avoid shaving cream.
- I wear my heart on my sleeve.
- I like attention but not too much attention because it stresses me out.
- I make myself a target because I talk a big game all the time because of my insecurities.
- I feel like I don't belong in anything.
I bolded the last point because that really explains all my actions and why I am the way that I am. Do you feel like you don't belong? Do you feel like the person you call your best friend doesn't reciprocate it? Do you feel like the person you have a crush on likes you as a friend? Do you feel that you love your job more than your job loves you? Do you ever sit in a group of people who discuss plans they've had in the past or future and know you weren't involved nor will be?
It's an awful feeling. Feeling like you don't belong sucks.
Let me give you a few reasons as to why I feel like I don't belong and tell me if I am wrong.
Why I Feel Like I Don't Belong
Disclaimer: My feelings on these topics may have changed in the past few months or years but I have to draw examples for why I feel this way and what I’ve been through that attributes to my deteriorating mental health.
- I can't characterize myself as "part of the guys" or "part of the crew" because I'm not part of any of them although I am friends with plenty of individuals.
- All my friends have group chats with other friends and I am not involved in any. I have more than a dozen male friends and still can’t fit my way into a group.
- The number of couples I've "match made" is more than the number of engagements and weddings I've been invited to.
- I have more than a dozen friends who call me their "brother" but I'm fairly certain I will never be the best man at any of their weddings because there is always someone closer than me.
- Being a decade younger than most of my family means I'm not only not respected by most of them, but most of them don't even know what's going on in my life.
- This scenario has happened to me more than I'd like:
- Make friends with x person.
- Introduce x person to a prior friend.
- The prior friend and x person hit it off.
- X person & prior friend get closer than me both ways.
- I work at at a job where I am the sole reason for the success of it yet I’m still left in the dark for important details that would help improve the entire business.
I can go on and on. I know I sound whiney. Shit, I know it sounds like I'm playing the victim card here and I am. I'm not going to deny that I have issues. However, I am trying to be an open book and explain everything that goes on in my head despite how many eye rolls and head scratchers you’ve probably had reading this so that I can help YOU and myself (eventually).
I'm well aware why of all the reasons the above issues happened. It all stems from my sense of feeling like I don't belong. When I feel like I don't belong I act out improperly towards others. That sense of feeling when I get when I'm not part of a dynamic eats away at me like a vicious disease. What do people do when they don't feel well? They don't act like themselves.
So if I've said something irrational, ignored you, didn't invite you to a certain thing, didn't give you the time of day when you needed me, or if I was super nice to you so much but then started to tail off drastically later on...it's because of my sense of not belonging.
Why have I not opened up about this to any of you in person? For all the reasons stated above. I'm terrified of conflict lately. You have no idea how many people say things (unless it's sports arguments because they keep my argumentative side alive) that I want to react to but don't. I was always scared of being talked bad about behind my back but I just laid out all of my issues so I don't fear being talked about anymore because I have the guts to publicly say negative things about myself. However, I plan on being more confrontational with everyone. If I'm going to lose touch with you, I might as well go out swinging and let you know what you did (or what I did) was wrong.
Make People Feel Like They Belong
When it comes to my end, I put my best foot forward to make people feel like they belong. I leave open invites to my home, my heart, and my phone to anyone who wants it. I compliment people on anything I can. If I sense someone feels embarrassed I quickly help diffuse the situation. This is the type of person I try to be and I URGE you all to do the same.
Your words are so powerful to others and your actions are even stronger. When someone is insecure about their place in your life, define it. If someone is worried about how they are doing at their job, provide honest feedback. Stand up for a friend or loved one who is being mistreated and stop living your life on autopilot mode.
You never know what someone is going through because as I've perfectly laid it out here people are too afraid to speak up. Give that person a voice or use your voice to do so for them. You have no idea how you can not only change a life but also save a life.
Make everyone in your life feel like they belong, it's not a difficult thing we ask for.
I love you all and never ever stop Dreaming.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you're having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.