I think we all have a part of us that feels like an outsider.
We look at other people and perceive them as more lovable, savvy, fit, skilled, successful, or fill-in-the-blank than we are and we feel outside of the flow they’re in.
When we’re in this place, we want someone else to reach out to us and include us in the realms we want to be apart of. But the irony is that while other people can invite you, only you can include yourself into the experience of connection. Only you can make the switch in your own mind that you belong.
This past weekend I was at a festival. The daytime party was on a river and everyone was carrying on like wild things in their swim suits. Although this sort of moment is close to my utopian vision of how a summer afternoon should be spent, I felt self-conscious and inhibited. Dance in my bikini? Hmmm. I looked around. People of all shapes and sizes were moving about, but my initial reaction was that I felt like an outsider and as if everyone else had been consistently working out while I’ve been drinking pina coladas and sitting around.
But I know the outsider game well and for me there are really only two choices: feed into the lie and believe I’m outside the flow I want to be in. Or, choose to include myself.
I won’t lie. Day one was fun but a tad inhibited. Day two I decided I’d had enough of that and spent the afternoon carrying on, doing everything I wanted, feeling totally in the mix of things, and thoroughly enjoying myself… fuscia bikini and all.
This same approach parlays into everything we want in our lives that we feel separate from – financial abundance, love, friendship, health, mental clarity, creativity, you name it. We’re not actually separate from it. We just believe we are and because we believe we are, we live in ways that reinforce our belief.
But what if you stopped thinking of yourself as an outsider to what you want, and instead began to live in a way that reinforces your sense of belonging?
I’ll share another example.
I have a good friend who’s an amazing artist. His first few paintings are like everyone’s first paintings – excellent initial attempts often ending in brown-ish something. But he decided he didn’t want to be an okay, beginning painter. He wanted to be an artist and he wanted to be good at it. So he studied paintings and art books, took in their techniques and composition, and approached his next painting with a new perspective and goal in mind. And it’s so off the charts amazing it’s like he’d been painting for ten years. Each painting since has only gotten better and he has unquestionably become the skillful artist he had once hoped to become.
Can you do this? Of course you can.
Any part of life that you currently think of yourself as separate, outside of, or not quite ready for, you can include yourself in. First in your belief. Then in your action. It may take some work and the results may take a moment to show up, but you have the power to make shifts, open yourself to new ways of thinking and living, and belong to all the aspects of life you want to participate in. Seriously. The ball is in your court. So why not take the leap and include yourself?