If resentment is bitter indignation over a perceived treatment of unfairness, if what we desperately fear is disapproval and rejection, then all of us are vulnerable to succumbing to the temptation to belong. Honestly, belonging is a big deal and we should all work diligently in the pursuit of both accepting others and providing a place for them to belong AND being people who behave in ways that make it possible for others to accept us into their circle of trust.
But at what cost? Again, I turn to Brene’ Brown to guide my thoughts on what I believe is a core spiritual principle: imitate God by being caring, inclusive and relationally present AND respect yourself in the process.
True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to CHANGE who you are; it requires you to BE who you are. P. 157 Braving the Wilderness
And this: it means that not everyone will embrace belonging as a spiritual practice. Think about what it requires to value belonging in this sacred way. It means that we must NEVER EVER ask others to change who they are in order to make us feel more comfortable. It requires us to BE who we are even when it puts belonging at risk. If we change who we are in order to fit into a system that demands that we change, did we ever belong? No. We never belonged. In any system where power is used to manipulate even one person to change in order to gratify another, this is a system that cannot handle sacred belonging.
How many of us have chased after belonging only to discover that belonging in its most sacred sense was never going to be something the person whose approval we craved could give? What has that cost us?