The only thing I can figure is that I must do a lot of work in my sleep when I wake way too early with statements or slogans going through my mind, such as this title. Sometimes it is the endless looping of a song phrase sung in a vaguely recognizable voice that drives me nuts trying to remember the rest of the song while I stumble to the coffee pot.
Sleep habits aside, I instantly recognize the significance of the sentence fragment as an important behavior motivator that means: Over the course of our lives, we often search for a deep sense of belonging, where we are accepted for simply being who we are.
Like many others, throughout my life I’ve searched long and hard, tried this group and that, for a sense of feeling at peace and at ease with exactly who I am, and for feeling appreciated for what I offered the group and the world in general. Because of that process I experienced these integral life questions: What did I have to do (how contorted did I have to twist myself) to feel accepted by the group? And what role did I play in that group association (dominant, supplicant, equal)?
Group associations can be pivotal motivating factors for us, especially in early adolescence behavior; but that importance can also extend into adulthood.
This sense of not really knowing who you are or what you are supposed to be doing, can be a powerful driver to seekers of truth and higher purpose for living. As seekers, many of us simply aren’t satisfied with the standard rhetoric from any authority figure trying to convince us of their “truth” version, and many of us feel the importance of personal, direct connection for answers to those deepest life questions.
Discomfort or dissatisfaction with the norm, is a strong motivator of change in our lives.
This is not to discount that some people may have always felt comfortable in whatever home situation or group of friends that they found themselves. But some of us have always felt that there was something we were missing or not quite grasping “out there” beyond our fingertips—beyond our immediate environment, and we were determined to find out what it was and where it might lead. I know that’s been the story of my life, and I assume there must be a bunch of us out there who have felt the same thing, or there would not be so many philosophers in “blog-dom.”
The advantage of having a little age behind you is the “look-back” factor for reassessment, where you now have that distance perspective to reevaluate those older associations for the values and lessons-learned aspects.
Of course, in reassessment conclusions, there would be changes made back then because of your advanced knowledge now on all aspects of friends and how they view you in relation to how you best fit into their lives; but there would also be a deeper appreciation for yourself in all your imperfections and neediness at the time to bend and twist yourself for others, while you were still discovering who you were and what you wanted from your life.
These are the standard life lessons we all share.
We all need to feel that we “belong” somewhere doing something that feels “right” to us. And we need to know that the person we are at the core of our being, is an honorable, loving person—perfect in our present imperfections, and continually evolving into our fullest potential for greatness.
That is the essence of self-love, and the necessity for self-acceptance.