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You Belong Here

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 8:05 PM

Have you ever walked into a new environment and upon entering looked around and felt that perhaps you did not belong?

At that moment a host of insecurities seems to come flooding over you. You begin to recall other instances when you felt a similar way. Maybe you were the new kid in class and got teased because of your race, gender, physical size, height, skin colour, accent, clothes, or beliefs.   When I sense this unease after entering an unfamiliar environment I also begin to question my value, talents, and abilities. I start to wonder about my qualifications and doubt and fear creep into my spirit.

Any previous success or achievement vanishes from my mind. And all of this occurs within minutes. If I do not get a hold of these thoughts rather quickly, while in a meeting I will;

  • silently start comparing myself to others
  • cease listening to what is actually being discussed and
  • feel like I am being judged as an impostor by others in the room with me.

When we let feelings of not belonging to take over us, we are permitting our own thoughts to negate our progress and our potential to make a valuable contribution.

Earl Nightingale who recorded the “Strangest Secret” espoused, “we become what we think about.” When we engage in “I don’t belong here” thoughts, we have forgotten all the hours we spent staying late at school, or work, studying, practicing, and preparing.

We did not arrive where we are today because we took the easy path. Our journey which has led us to circumstances where we are called upon to step up and demonstrate our brilliance took time, energy and effort. It was not handed to us.

We can continue to think limiting thoughts and choose not to share our gifts. (Warning, this way of thinking can spread into other areas of our life, leading us to not sign up for that workshop, not apply for that new job, or volunteer for that project).

Or we can get control of our thoughts and take a few deep breaths and say to ourselves. "I belong here. I have done the work. I belong here. I have prepared for this very thing. I belong here."

Then we can go for it. Walk into the meeting room, attend the class, join the gym, speak up at the meeting, volunteer for that project and apply for the promotion.

Fear not the unfamiliar environment, you are ready for whatever comes your way.  Once you have gotten a hold of your thoughts, look around and if you notice someone else who has that look on her face; the look of doubt and fear; look right into her eyes, send her some of your confidence and say to her whether in words or with a smile “you belong here”.

Then make room for her beside you.

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Reply Seanne Parris
6:13 AM on December 14, 2017 
A powerful commentary. This is something that I have encountered from time to time. Awareness of our thoughts is the key.
Reply Harpreet
10:07 AM on December 14, 2017 
Great article. It appears as if it was written for me, every word of it was my story. I find myself in these situations quite often and there goes my confidence and self worth. I like the strategies/steps to apply in such situations.
Reply Amandeep
5:57 PM on December 14, 2017 
Such an important and empowering piece. The irony is that of all days I definitely needed this today. Thank you for taking the courage to share and help reassure so many of us.
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