I don’t belong here.
Have you ever felt that way? I have. It feels terrible. You just want to crawl into a hole to hide from embarrassment, shame, or ostracism. And then after you crawl into the hole, you want to dig your way out so you are far, far away from the place or situation or group that makes you feel uncomfortable, unliked, or unwelcome.
You hope where you end up, or who you end up with, will be better than your previous experience… But what if it isn’t? What if you feel the same?
Is there a better way? Does that hole really need to be dug? Sometimes it might, especially in circumstances where there is real cruelty, corruption, blatant dishonesty, moral degradation, or imminent danger.
During the times where I have felt I don’t belong, in most cases, none of those things were the case. I have found in retrospect, that when I feel that way, it is usually because of issues with my own self-esteem based on my current circumstances. Either that, or I just feel too different to fit in.
I have learned much from these types of experiences, and I can say with fervor that there are ways to overcome these feelings that don’t involve hiding or leaving.
There are two things that come to mind – learning the real truths about life, and focusing more on giving than receiving.
First, for the truths of life:
When you feel like you are too different, the truth is that diversity is interesting, and is necessary to increase understanding, broaden perspectives, and create better ideas. Life should not be lived in a bubble. If everyone around you seems to be the same, they need you!
When you feel like nobody likes you, the truth is that if you put the real, best you out there, people absolutely will like you. You just have to make eye contact, say hello, have engaging conversations, and smile! If you assume nobody will like you, and you avoid people at all costs, they won’t know that they can like you because you don’t let them try.
When you feel like you have no talent, the truth is that talents come in all forms. Not all are obvious, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t just as valuable.
When you feel like you have more flaws than everyone else, the truth is everybody on this earth has flaws. Just like not all talents are seen, not all flaws are seen. We all have them, and we can help each other feel special despite those flaws. Not only that, those who become our true friends can help us overcome said flaws.
And the most important TRUTH to remember through all of these feelings is:
You always belong in God’s eyes, because you are His. In the happy and the difficult times, let that soothe your soul.
Secondly, for focusing on giving, not receiving:
There will be times when you feel like you aren’t getting anything out of your surroundings – whether the people, the places, or the resources. In those cases, I would invite you to contemplate on what you can give. Ask yourself these questions:
What makes me special?
What talents do I have that I can share – that I should share?
Is there someone feeling like me who I can take under my wing?
Who needs my smile today, or my friendly hello?
If you look around, and step outside of yourself, you will find ample and valuable opportunities to give. Through giving, you will realize that you belong after all.
If you are feeling bad right now, and planning your escape from the place you feel you don’t belong, please take the time to truly contemplate that decision. You may think that nobody will notice or care if you leave, but the truth is, there will be people who will be affected by your absence. They will miss you, and they will want you back.
You are important. Never forget that.