Fit In vs. Belong

We all have different reasons to work out... some of us do it for health, some for a beautiful body, and some to give us more energy, but all of the reasons lead to better self confidence.  Self confidence for some of us is what we might feel we need to better "fit in", but have you every thought about how fitting in can be the greatest barrier to belonging?  Let's examine the difference between fitting in and belonging.  Brene' Brown PHD explores this concept in a recent article.  She writes "Fitting in I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them.  Belonging is something else entirely - it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are...".  It takes a lot of self acceptance to present yourself as who you really are.  We all know people like that, usually artists, scientists or deep thinkers, and have thought "I wish I could just be myself like that and not care".  But, in the end, the need to fit in takes over and we mold ourselves to whatever group we are with.  If you think about yourself with your work group, close friends group, neighbors group, in-laws group, or partying group, can you honestly say you are yourself in all these different groups?  I think most of us tweak our personality in order to fit in.  For example, have you ever joined in an office gossip group and agreed or even commented negatively about a fellow worker, but later regretted not stopping the gossip?  It is a survival technique in order to be liked, but in reality you are not being true to yourself.  In truth, belonging starts with self-acceptance.  Believing you are enough will give you the courage to be yourself in all groups or situations - authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.