“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” ― Brené Brown
This holiday season, I thought a lot about this quote by Brené Brown. Although we were all on edge with the proliferation of Omicron, all three of our children were able to make it back home. Now that they are all in their 20s, getting to spend almost 10 days together as a family is sacred. I feel blessed that we all truly love spending time together and I know that this is not a common sentiment felt by most families. During our deep conversations, goofy game playing extravaganzas and late night movies, I began to think of this quote about belonging and I had this realization that THIS may be the reason we actually consider our family time so sacred and, in many ways, healing.
You see, often, we are merely tolerating, quietly judging, worrying or even passively aggressively getting through our time with others. While these might be very effective strategies for getting through your time with others, it makes it nearly impossible to truly connect and find peace in a relationship.
I realized over this holiday that the “secret sauce” to family time bliss may merely be that one word: “belonging.” To me, belonging is a close cousin to “unconditional love.” When you create a sense of belonging, there is reverence in all qualities of others (even those that, on the surface, are not so pretty). When you create a community of belonging, whether it is in your relationship with one person or a group of people, you respect, love and honor all parts of that person or people. Rather than wishing things were different, hoping they would change, wanting to fix things for them or about them, or arguing how “you know best,” etc., you tap into that well deep within you that knows, we are all in this together, so let’s enjoy the ride and learn what we can from each other.
I am not saying this is easy – especially with family. We all have a lot of history there and some of it can be painful. It has taken me years to “relax” and let things be in regards to my children. They are not perfect, and neither am I, but what I see as our glue is this that we all hold the intention of belonging. We thoroughly embrace each other as we are, flaws and all and what inevitably evolves is pure safety; a net woven in love and compassion.
With all of the craziness that is our world, I believe we all want more of this “at home” work life.
I leave you with this question to ponder and perhaps I will follow it up with suggestions of my own:
How do you create a sense of belonging in your home, or in your classroom where everyone feels safe enough to BE WHO THEY ARE….even you?
For a little inspiration, here is an image for you to hang in your home or classroom as a reminder: