If you’ve ever struggled to feel like you belong, this episode is for you. I’ve struggled with belonging for decades. I couldn't understand how other people seemed to find large groups of friends. But I’ve figure out how to belong on my own terms. And, paradoxically, I realized—that’s exactly what belonging is.
Today’s episode is personal, hopeful, and practical. Here's what we cover:
1. The myth of belonging (9:08)
2. The 2 roads to isolation (5:36)
3. What about social anxiety? (9:50)
4. The surprising path to belonging (20:19)
5. 3 easy steps you can take TODAY (29:50)
Do you have questions for Dr. Alison? Leave them here.
Thanks to our sponsors:
This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Give online therapy a try at betterhelp.com/BESTOFYOU and get on your way to being your best self.
Go to www.organifi.com/bestofyou today and use code BESTOFYOU for 20% off your order today.
Get 35% off your first order of Sundays. Go to SundaysForDogs.com/BESTOFYOU or use code BESTOFYOU at checkout.
To start decoding your body's messages, and pave the way for a healthier life visit nutrisense.com/bestofyou and get $30 off your first month and one month of board certified nutritionist support.
Music by Andy Luiten
Sound editing by Kelly Kramarik
While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this podcast and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this podcast are for informational purposes only.
The Best of You by Dr. Alison Cook
Dance scene from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
Related Podcast Episodes
Episode 61: Reconnecting With Old Friends—Healing the Past, Naming Regret & Bringing Your Whole Self into the Future
Episode 69: Your Future Self—8 Challenges to Resolve As You Become the Person You Were Meant to Be
Episode 70: Mastering the Art of Emotional Intelligence—How to Harness the Power of Your Emotions to Improve Your Relationships
Episode 71: All About Therapy—Do I Need a Therapist, How Do I Find One, and What Type of Therapy Works Best?
Episode 72: Overcoming Failure, Handling Adversity, and Telling Yourself the Truth
TBOY Episode 73
Alison: Hey everyone, and welcome back to this week's episode of the best of you podcast. I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad you keep coming back for these conversations. I love showing up each week. Knowing we have this appointment with each other, where we're going to connect in this way.
And actually I have a little bit of a spoiler alert. For next week's episode, I have a very special guest who actually, in his own way, puts his neurobiological understanding on what is actually happening as I'm talking here on this podcast and you as you're listening.
And it was a really beautiful moment. I cannot wait to share it with you. I. think about you whether you're driving in your car or cooking a meal or taking a walk, or maybe you're at work and you just need some background noise to get yourself into a different headspace.
I think about what I want to share and It meant so much to me, again, to understand that there's actually something really cool happening between us as we connect together for this podcast. And I bring that up because today's episode is all about belonging,
What does it mean to belong to each other? And this is a word I've struggled with a lot my whole life. I can fairly easily find a home within myself. I can find a way to be with myself. I don't mind being alone and I really enjoy being a safe place for other people, but it's been very hard for me most of my life to feel a sense of belonging to a group.
And I'll talk about that a little bit more personally today. I'll give you some examples, both from my life and from different authors that have helped me understand this. But before we get into that, I want to just talk about what is belonging, what does the word mean, and then move into how I understand it metaphorically and some examples of how we can grow in this feeling.
And I really believe a lot of belonging is a feeling of being connected to other people. It's really rooted in an emotional state. People can tell us all day long, no, you belong, you're part of the group. But if we don't experience that at a felt level, we can feel really isolated. Like we're not part of the group and that's a painful place to be.
It's a place I've been acquainted with for a lot of my life. And so I'm just really thrilled that you're here with me today to talk about this. Here in this place where we belong to each other, we show up each week with each other and there is a form of belonging in that. So I'm just delighted to have this conversation with you here.
Belonging is this word that gets at how we experience ourselves in relationship to others. Do we feel connected to others? Do we feel valued by others? Do we feel esteemed by others?
Do we feel included? Do we feel accepted? Do we feel embraced by others? And I'm using that word feel for a reason. There's an emotional connotation to belonging because a lot of it is how we experience being part of a group. Do we genuinely feel like we belong in our families?
These are my people. This is my friend group. I belong here. When I show up here, I am valued. I know that these are my people.
And that gets into the second component of belonging. It's related to these groups of people, our families, our communities. It could be an organization. Do you feel a sense of belonging with the company you work for or the school that you attend or the school that you perhaps teach at or the hospital where you work?
Do you feel a sense of connection to that place? Like you're a part of something bigger than yourself? It could apply to your church community. Do you feel a sense of belonging there that you matter, that you have a role that you contribute and that you're working together towards something bigger than just what we can do by ourselves?
And the thing about belonging that's so tricky is that it requires us to show up as we really are. This is a lot of what I talk about in The Best of You.
It requires us to show up authentically as we are on one hand, while being accepted for who we are and valued for who we are on the other. So you can be really good at being true to yourself to such a degree that you are just going to be completely yourself. You don't care what anybody else thinks, and you can end up alone.
You can not have an experience of belonging, but gosh, you were true to yourself. And sometimes we can see that extreme in our culture today that we're so into being our individual selves, my truth, what's true for me has to exist above anything else. We sacrifice a little bit of this belonging. To some degree, in order to belong with other people, we have to be able to flex and adapt to the needs of the group.
It requires some of that emotional intelligence. We talked about how it requires some of that resilience. In order to belong to a group of people, whether it's a family or a friend group or a church group, we're not going to always perfectly understand each other.
Sometimes people are even going to hurt us or offend us or not fully understand or irritate us. If you've been part of a family, you get it even in the best of families, there's friction, there's conflict at times.
We don't want to so mute our individual selfhood, our sense of who I am in order to fit in so that we lose ourselves. That's not healthy either. That's not belonging. Belonging isn't: I'll just turn myself inside out and leave half of myself at the door so that I can fit into this group of people.
That's not belonging. And either of those extremes is problematic. So belonging is tricky.
I say it this way in The Best of You: it's a dance of togetherness and apartness, of dependence and autonomy. It's a movement. It's a rhythm. It's a dance. Belonging isn't static.
If you think about those wonderful Jane Austen movies like Pride and Prejudice or Little Women, they dance in community with other people and there's a flow to it. They're always connecting to each other, even as they're interacting as a group.
And we don't have a lot of models for that in our modern society. You can think of a sports team where there's a group of individuals who each have to play a role in order for the team to get the job done. I think that's a really helpful metaphor.
You can think of an orchestra. Where every unique individual person has to play their instrument, has to play their part. And when they all are playing their part together, it creates a beautiful harmony. The group creates something much more beautiful than. Any one individual could create but each individual within that group, within that orchestra has to play their unique part.
And so these are some metaphors for belonging. When you belong to that orchestra, your part matters. You need to show up and play it, but you have to play it in harmony with the rest of that group. And if at any point you try to take over, you're going to actually cause problems for the melody. But if you don't show up at all, the melody isn't going to be complete.
So this leads me to the first point I want to make about belonging today. And this is from Brené Brown. She talks about this so beautifully in her book, it's called Braving the Wilderness, which is really a book about belonging,
One of the things that she talks about is the difference between belonging and fitting in. And I think this is so important to understand, and here's what she says: sometimes we will take fitting in as a substitute for belonging. Fitting in says “Be like them to be accepted”. Belonging says, “This is who I am. I want you to accept me but this is who I am. I can't not be who I am. And if I show up as I am, will you accept me?”
And what happens to so many of us is early on, if we go back to childhood, because that's where this all gets formed in our bodies, in our minds, in our nervous systems, somewhere along the line. Maybe it was early on in our families. Maybe it was at school with other kids. We showed up as ourselves. And we didn't get accepted. We didn't get received.
Maybe we were overlooked. Maybe we were bullied. Maybe we were just ignored. And that hurts, when you show up in the fullness of who you are and other people look at you funny or don't accept you, or maybe even make fun of you.
It hurts, especially at a young age. And so we learn how to hide. We learn how to camouflage ourselves. We learn how to put on that cloak of invisibility because we don't want to hurt. And so we decide early on, it's just easier to fit in, to just play along. Because then I won't have to have the hurt of being different, of being ostracized, of feeling othered, of feeling isolated, of feeling alienated.
And in our young minds at that age, we see only two options. We look at it as social survival. The stakes are high. We've either got to fit in or we're alone. And that aloneness is just too hard. And so we work to fit in. And so many of us, every single one of us, is walking around with wounds from those formative periods of time,
Whether you had wonderful parents or whether you didn't, we all pick up wounds around belonging very early on in childhood, where what we really want is to be received by our peers. And we just didn't know how to maneuver that dance of being part of a group where we honor others and also are being true to ourselves. It's really a sophisticated skill that most of us just simply didn't learn.
And then we carry those wounds with us into adulthood.
And I tell this story, it's an illustration in The Best of You, imagine yourself as a young girl in middle school, and imagine there's a school dance, and actually this is based on my own experience because I was always terrified of most of the social functions that were happening in middle school.
I didn't want to go. They weren't appealing to me, but I felt this inner angst of “everybody's doing it”. All my friends are doing it. Everyone's excited about it. What am I going to do? Sit home? And I didn't have the internal strength to just own it.
And in this story that I tell, this girl is wrestling with herself. What do I do? Because this is just not something that's appealing to me. I love my friends. I want to hang out with them on Saturday, but I really don't want to go to this school dance. And so imagine a wise parent, a wise adult sits down with her in that moment and helps her understand herself.
Do you need to go? Are you not going because you're afraid? And maybe you need to push yourself to go. Is it really just not your thing? No, thank you. Maybe I'll go to a dance in high school. Maybe not. Is it really genuine that you would just rather be outside, or you would just rather be doing anything else and this just isn't your thing?
Giving her the courage to be true to herself while simultaneously honoring her friends. And can you imagine if as she steps out and says, you know what guys, I don't want to go, I think it's cool that you want to go, I want to hear all about it tomorrow, but I'm going to sit this one out because I just rather do other things on this Friday night.
Imagine if she had the courage to do that and then her friends said, that's awesome. Good for you. We're bummed. We wish you would come, but we can't wait to tell you about it on Saturday. Imagine the basis that these young women would be forming for a healthy sense of belonging going into adulthood.
I'm true to myself. I speak up for what I need and what I want, and sometimes that deviates from the group. And so I try to communicate that really clearly and also the group that I'm a part of honors my differences, even as they move forward with what matters to them.
And yes, sometimes we have a little bit of conflict or have a little bit of friction and we have to negotiate and we have to work that through. But as we do that, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We become part of something beautiful, something that will last, something that doesn't require us to betray ourselves, something that doesn't demand that other people validate every single thing about me.
It doesn't demand that everybody else prop up everything I do. You can disagree with me. We can have different opinions and simultaneously be part of something bigger than ourselves because we need each other. And the fact that I'm a little bit different from you, and maybe I disappoint you in this moment, ‘cause I'm not going to go do that thing you want me to do, but guess what? That means I'm going to have some perspective that you may not have when you actually need me to be a little bit different from you because I can see your situation a little bit more clearly.
Our differences are what helps us gain perspective. Our differences are what help us see each other more clearly. And so if we're exactly the same and we're all just trying to perfectly fit in with each other, we're not actually seeing each other. It takes a little bit of divergence in order for there to be connection. If I'm over here living my life, climbing my mountains, working out the path in front of me, I have a much better perspective to look over at you in your life and say, hey, here's what I see. Let me come alongside you for a minute.
I've got a vantage point that you can't see on your path. So if I'm busy over here, tending to my own life I'm going to be a better help to you in your path. And yes, there are times when we're not always together, when you've got to go down a curvy road in your path and I can't necessarily go down that with you because I'm trying to keep myself on my own path over here. But I see you.
I cannot wait to meet with you when our paths converge again in a day and two weeks, whatever the interval is for our relationship, that's how we belong to each other. We don’t have to try to live somebody else's life or be somebody that we're not, or pretend that we're all the same.
You have your own mountain to climb. I have my mountain to climb. Your mountain is not mine. My mountain is not yours. I can't climb your mountain for you at the end of the day. I've got to climb mine. I can't go climb my child's mountain for them. I can't climb my spouse's mountain for them, and they can't climb mine.
At the end of the day, when I look up to that peak where I've got to go, I'm the only one that can completely and 100 percent take that path to the top of that mountain. But here's the thing, what we can do together is I can head over to your mountain and walk with you for a part of the path. I can go join you.
You can come over to mine and say, Hey, I need some help. Can you help me down this leg of the path? ‘Cause I'm scared. This one's scary. You can come and walk with me for a part of mine. Sometimes I'll see your path more clearly. It's not as scary because I don't have all the baggage that you're carrying as you have to go down that leg of your path. That leg of your path isn't as scary to me.
I'm like, I can do that. I can come over there and walk that leg with you because you know what? I haven't dealt with some of the things you've dealt with. So this is okay for me and you can come over and walk a part of mine. But at the end of the day, we are each on our own paths. We can help each other.
Sometimes our paths intersect and it's beautiful and we're walking a season of life together. And those are beautiful moments where our paths are really joined for a period of time. Whether our kids are the same age, or whether we're in a work project together where our paths are really intimately connected and it's really cool, and then sometimes our paths veer apart again. This is the dance of belonging.
When we are both clear about the path that only I can take and also deeply invested in each other getting to where they need to be. That's when we are part of belonging. And so I want to ask you today, who are the people whose paths are intertwined with your path, who maybe you need to pull in a little bit closer.
Who are the people who support you? Who are the people who see and honor that you're on your own path?
You've got your own challenges. You've got your own dreams. You've got your own desires. And they've got theirs, but you see each other. You can see their path pretty clearly and they can see yours. And therefore you become really helpful conversation partners to each other. You become people you can turn to for illuminating parts of the path when the path gets dark.
This is belonging.
It's belonging deeply to yourself and to God, while simultaneously understanding that you are part of a bigger journey. You are part of a bigger series of mountain peaks, right where everybody eventually is finding their way through to this beautiful vista where together we will look back and go, oh my gosh, together we did that.
We summited this mountain and here we are, we made it and we couldn't have done it without each other. And also, sometimes during that hike, we were walking on our own because no one else could exactly do that leg of the journey for us.
Now I spend a lot of time in nature, as you can tell from these metaphors. And for me, the learning curve was, I don't have to hike the path alone. I can sometimes look over and see a fellow traveler and say, Hey, could we walk this path together for a little while? And that is the muscle I have to work to develop. It's a muscle that's hard for me. To join forces with folks on the path.
You may be different. You may be somebody who has worked so hard to join forces with other people that sometimes it's hard for you to go out on your own for a moment and say, you know what? I got to leave the pack for just a minute because I'm losing myself just a little bit.
And it might be the pack of your family. You love your kids, you love your spouse but you're losing yourself. Just a little bit. You've given too much over to the group and you actually need to say to your family, to the people you love, you know what, I got to go out on my own for just a minute.
I got to explore some of my own interests. I got to explore some new friendships. I got to explore some new ideas. And maybe your family won't like that. They may not know what to do with that, but when there's health there, you can gently name that and say, I love you. I'm going to come back.
I'm going to be a better mom. I'm going to be a better spouse. I'm going to be a better parent. I'm going to be a better friend. If I can go out and learn this thing about myself and pursue this desire and pursue this interest or get this healing, it's only going to be better for the group, because if I'm not my whole self, if I'm not my full self, I'm actually depriving the group a little bit.
So some of you, that's your call right now. You're aware: I've given a lot of myself to this group, whatever this group may be. I've given a lot of myself and I've lost just a little bit of myself and that's okay, I'm not going to blame them, but I do need to course correct.
I do need to go out on my own and explore a little bit of a different path. And I'm going to bring the goodness that I find back into this group. And you know what? Maybe this group, while I'm away exploring a little bit, maybe they're going to learn some new coping skills that actually won't be bad for them either. Maybe it'll actually be healthy for them to learn what it's like to journey a little bit without me nearby. Maybe they'll be okay.
And so that may be your invitation. And if that's you and if you're listening and you're like, yeah, that's me, I want to just encourage you to consider that tap on your heart, that nudge from the Holy Spirit, that longing to pursue an interest or a dream or a healing path that is a little different and you're a little worried.
You're like, I don't know what they're going to think of me. I don't know what these people in my life that I love are going to think of that. I would just encourage you to name that, to not let that fall by the wayside.
Because there's an invitation in that nudge that's not only for you, but I guarantee you that it will also be for the good of that group. You gotta go out and get a little more tuning for your instrument so that you can come back and play just a little bit more vibrantly with the whole.
Okay, so whatever that is, whatever that longing is, I want you to pay attention to that. This is part of belonging. Remember, belonging isn't just being part of a group, it's being yourself in a group.
And so if you've skewed too far toward prioritizing the group, take some brave steps toward cultivating this part of you that needs your attention that's a little bit different. Maybe you're going to expand into a new group, and you can have both groups, and that's even better. You don't have to just have one group. Maybe you find another group and you have elements of yourself that are present in both groups.
On the other hand, if you're someone who has been such a lone ranger, who does things all on your own, and it's really hard for you to make yourself vulnerable to a group, you've also got an invitation to belonging.
What are you afraid of when it comes to considering belonging to a group of people? Maybe you've been hurt. Maybe people have betrayed your trust and there's a good reason you don't trust anybody and you don't open up to a group. You've learned that the hard way. And listen, I relate to you in many ways. I relate to that, but there's an invitation before you that the people who have hurt you in the past do not necessarily represent the people who will love you in the future.
Who will honor you, who won't shame you, who won't ostracize you, who won't hurt you. Who will say, tell me more about you. We like that quirky thing about you. We think you're cool. We want you to be more of you. Those people are out there. I promise you, you haven't found them yet. You've been hurt. Do not stop searching for them. They are out there.
These are the people who, even if they don't understand you initially or disappoint you initially, will continue to work for your trust. They exist. Please keep looking for them. There are good people out there who want to know you, who believe in you, who understand the complexity of you and who want to invite you in, not to take you over or to squash you or to force you to be someone you are not, but who want to bring you into love you as you are.
Those people are out there. As my friend Ginny Anne said back in episode 61, where I had my sister and my two childhood friends on, she said, do not rest until you find those people who will honor who you are while inviting you to be a part of their lives as they are. That's reciprocity, that's mutuality, that's belonging, and those people are out there and you are worth being found.
When it comes to belonging, whatever your invitation, whether it's to find a little more of yourself or whether it's to find the people who will accept you as you are, I want to give you some practical steps you can take because to be honest, the steps are the same regardless of which invitation is yours.
So here are three things I want you to do this week. Number one, I want you to notice something you actually love, and I want you to do it publicly. Now, here's what I mean by that: I want you to think of something you love doing, a preference you have, an opinion you hold, a conviction, anything that really means a lot to you that you're a little bit nervous about doing publicly.
What do I mean by publicly? It could be with your family. It could be with a friend group. It could be a church group. It could be on social media. It could be on social media. Where you just take a risk and do something, post something publicly there. If you do tag me, I'm not on there that often, but if I see you, I'll notice it.
But I really mean this. I want you to think of something you love, something that makes you feel a little bit vulnerable, a little bit even silly inside. And I want you to do it.
I want you to take just a small step toward that. Just a small step. Maybe go for the low hanging fruit. Maybe when no one's around, just look up a class or look up a practical thing you could do to pursue that desire or that longing and then take a step and then gather up your courage and maybe name it to the folks in your group, again, whether it's your family, whether it's a friend group, whether it's a church group.
I'm going to do this thing. Notice how they respond. Do they support you in that? Do they get curious? And if they don't, that doesn't mean that what you're doing is wrong. It might mean that you're going to have to do some harder work of weaning them a little bit.
Maybe they have an expectation of you that you're going to have to shift. You're going to have to train them to see you a little bit differently because you need to expand. You need to broaden and it doesn't mean you want to hurt them. It means you want to add more to yourself so that you can add more to them.
How does the group respond if they get toxic? Groups will get toxic if you want to deviate from the group norms. And if that happens, pay attention because why do you want to be with people when you have to turn yourself inside out to make them happy, that they can't support you in doing something that's good for you, that will ultimately bring more vitality to the group?
So I want you to notice any fear around stepping out to pursue something that's different from the group, test it a little bit, see how they respond, and then take some more brave steps. You're trying to be a little bit more true to yourself while simultaneously being in community with other people. So there's no shame in this. You're practicing a muscle.
Number two, I want you to notice who around you evokes a feeling of connection or belonging inside of you. Now, here's the trick about this one. I want you to think outside the box. I want you to notice it where you least expect it.
Who's someone that you're like, you know what? It doesn't make any sense, but whenever I'm with that person, I feel safe. I feel like I can really be myself. Isn't that interesting? I want you to notice, where do you experience that where you don't expect it?
And this was a big one for me because early on, mostly in college, was when I realized that the groups that I often wanted to belong in, I felt like I should belong in these groups, but they left me feeling cold. I don't feel accepted and then I feel down on myself and that's not pleasant, so I'd rather be by myself.
I dealt with a lot of that in college, and so I began to pay attention to where I felt acceptance and belonging. It's not in these groups where I feel like I am supposed to feel it, so where do I feel it? And almost always I noticed it in the most surprising places. And I'll give you some examples from my life.
I have a lot of friends who do not share my faith. One of my closest friends is an atheist, and I noticed this back in college. I love having conversations, open dialogue, intellectual conversations with anybody who is curious about big deep topics. I don't care what they believe. It is a place where I find belonging.
And the thing is, I found those people in places that were unexpected. Now in college, it's a little easier because we're all interacting. It was a secular school. I was a church girl. And so people would be curious about that, who weren't of my faith background.
And I remember two people in particular, one was a guy, his name was Caesar. We had nothing in common, absolutely nothing. We could not have been more different. He was from the heart of New York City. I was from rural Wyoming. I am a Jesus loving Christian. He was a, marijuana smoking fraternity guy. We had nothing in common.
And we loved to talk about faith together. And I didn't have an agenda with him. We just talked because we were curious and interested in those topics. And there were so many others. I can begin to count: Danielle and Jennifer and David and Brian. And, all of a sudden, all of these people started to surface that I didn't have a lot in common with on the surface. And that I loved having these intellectual conversations about deep topics.
I began to experience belonging. Now we weren't a group. We weren't friends with the same people. I didn't know who their friends were and they didn't know who my friends were. But each one of those interactions helped me glimpse a little bit of belonging.
To this day, I don't tend to experience belonging as a part of a visible group. And what I mean by that is a part of an identified group where 10 people all have the same best friends. I have a collection of treasures and the treasures that I have in my life often don't even know each other, but I experienced belonging with each one of them and they experienced belonging with me.
And that became my form of belonging. I tell you that because I want you to know that belonging shows up in a lot of different ways. If your family was not a place where you experienced belonging, you can create a collection of treasures, a collection of family members who become your place of belonging.
And it might be really random. It might be a work colleague, it might be someone that you enjoy hiking with that you really have nothing else in common with. It might be a teacher who works with your kids and you just notice there's a rapport and a connection and a sense of belonging and you hadn't really thought about it before because maybe they're not someone you would expect yourself to hang out with, and I really am drilling down on this because it's been one of the most profound things in my own life when I feel cut off from groups or I feel like I'm not connecting.
I always go back to where I feel belonging in the most unexpected place and I start there. It could be the clerk in the grocery checkout line where you just notice this is a kind person. This is someone who I enjoy seeing when I come to the grocery store every week and I feel seen in this interaction, in this exchange.
That's a glimpse of belonging. Build on that glimpse. Where do you find a glimpse of connection, a feeling seen, a feeling like yourself and a feeling like you want to see the other person and move toward that?
And finally, the third one, this one is a little more abstract. I want you to imagine the people you want to be around you in heaven. Okay? That's what I mean by when we get to that peak and we look around and we see ourselves with these people, these fellow travelers, who are those people for you?
Maybe they're authors that you've never even met. Maybe they're people from the past that you've never even met because it's heaven. It can be anyone. But what I want you to do is open up your imagination to see if you could sit down and have dinner in heaven with anyone, who are the people you would want to have around you?
If they're people who are living, but you can't be close to them. Who are those people where you just would be like, man, I just want to talk about how we got here, about who you are. I want you to know who I am. And again, these are glimpses. These are glimmers of where you feel alive. That's where you feel belonging.
And then backtrack from there. Read those books, find those authors, find those podcasts, and then think to yourself, what are the qualities about those people that I enjoy, where I feel seen, and begin to focus your attention on that. And I promise you, as you go about your day to day life, you'll begin to bump into people who bring that out in you because you're thinking about it.
Where your attention goes, so go your actions. Suddenly you'll start to become aware of, wait a minute. I might find people like that. If I go to these types of situations, I might find people like that. If I spend more time fishing in these ponds, maybe I could find some people where I would find this sense of belonging
So three things this week. Notice what you actually love doing and do it publicly, do it in a group, do it with the people that you love and just see what happens. Take a risk.
Number two, notice who or what evokes that feeling of connection or belonging inside of you that's surprising, that's off your radar that you're like, gosh, that is weird. I do connect with that person. And move toward that.
Number three, use your imagination and imagine yourself in heaven. When this is all said and done, who are the people you want to be connecting with? The people you want to be around you and then backtrack from there, reverse engineer and think about where you might find people like that in your life, where you can be the fullness of who you are while being with other people.