“You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” -Maya Angelou
Reminiscing these powerful words from Brene Brown’s book ‘Braving The Wilderness’ as I look forward to diving into her new book ‘Dare To Lead’ that I preordered on Audible a while back.
The timing is perfect because just recently something happened in my life that made me think about this. As someone who continues to brave the wilderness, I know from my own experience how hard it is to walk this path. I am often judged, misunderstood and even ostracized just because I shared my opinion or my feelings (in a very non-judgmental and respectful manner for that matter) which made someone else out there feel badly about themselves, their own parenting style, their own choices, etc. Most people, when they experience this feeling, don’t try to look within to understand what it is that triggered this feeling inside them. This is much harder to do and requires a lot more courage and mental strength. So, they take the easy route, blame me, judge me, avoid me, stay away from me, etc. Most of the time, I am able to ignore such behaviors and do what feels right to me in my heart. But I will admit that I haven’t reached that stage in my own spiritual journey where such behaviors do not affect me at all.
I did make a lot of progress in this area though. I used to experience anger and resentment towards such people before but I don’t experience those feelings anymore towards them because I remind myself that I was also like them not too long ago. Instead of feeling disappointed or feeling resentful towards them, now I tell myself that they are also doing the best they can based on where they are in their own personal journey. I try to find compassion in my heart for such people. I hope that they are able to get to a point in their own lives where they are able to look within themselves and their close relationships, without being scared of what they would find there.
A true sense of belonging is a valuable gift to the individual, their family, their friends and the society that they live in. It does not come from belonging to a group or community, but it comes from within, when one starts living authentically. Living authentically means being one with your self, which means your thoughts, words and actions are all aligned and there is no pretense involved just to be able to fit into a group. This is what brings an inner joy which radiates into the outer world. The path to accomplishing this is rough, uncomfortable and often plagued with self doubt. But a person who is able to accomplish this is a gift to humanity. I am by no means there yet but it is something that I keep working towards persistently, despite many set backs.
Looking forward to learning more on this subject from ‘Dare to Lead’. I hope to start listening to the audio book soon.