Fitting In… Is Not Belonging

Dear Reader:

The internal conflict that goes on inside us (for way too long) in many of our lives… is the dilemma of how to fit in (with our peers when young, later our working colleagues, friends and even family) while being brave enough to reveal who we really are simultaneously.

Sound familiar?

How can we change the world if we are too frightened to reveal the “Velveteen Rabbit” deep inside…just wanting to be accepted for being “real” (in every sense of the word) through our own unique perspective?

I came across this important excerpt from Brene Brown on a list of life’s lessons in a televised discussion. It really spoke to me…hope it does you.

“There are so many terms we use every day whose meanings are gauzy, if not downright imprecise—which makes it hard to get your head around what’s really going on in your life. For example, contrary to what most of us think: Belonging is not fitting in. In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging.

Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.”

I re-read this passage over and over until the truth finally sank into my psyche. How absolutely true this is? If we have to change who we really are to be accepted by whomever we wanted to be accepted by, including society in general, something is wrong.

The bigger goal is discovering how we can be our “authentic selves” and still feel accepted in our environment …with an added sense of belonging in our daily life.

Brene Brown goes on to add:

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance.

“Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. When we don’t have that, we shape-shift and turn into chameleons; we hustle for the worthiness we already possess.”

It took different people from different situations during different stages in my life to finally get me to the point where I saw myself more clearly as others saw me…and then I realized I still hadn’t played “all my cards” and it was time to “reveal my hand.” Only then when I became the “Velveteen Rabbit”...did I finally become real.

So until tomorrow….

If you have to pretend to be somebody you aren’t… to “fit in” ...drop out... and let your real self emerge…Now look around you and see new sets of people observing you differently…and openly…until that wonderful day when you rise …happy and content…because you finally belong.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday I did more physical work than I have done in quite awhile…Between tall rakes and big clippers…I started attacking the side yard…every time I would go to rake…it caught an underground root, so I would have to stop and cut it with the clippers and start again. I only have one relatively small section done but it looks so good…I am motivated to continue the project.

I will share photos with you as the work progresses this spring and summer! 🙂

As I pull into the house these days more blooms surprise me…spring has arrived unofficially in Summerville….but it feels very official.


Mandy and “Winnie” had a girls’ “beauty” day yesterday….first hair-cut for Winnie….Looking good girls!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Fitting In… Is Not Belonging

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Winnie and Mandy are so beautiful!!!❤️❤️

  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Such a pretty picture of the girls…and the older more I want to be with people who are real and love to laugh…

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