December 4, 2015
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes: “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
This week, I’ve been both the friend who needed a listening ear and the friend who provided one. As the friend in need, I felt a genuine sense of belonging – I could be me, with all my imperfections and insecurities. And when you have that type of friendship, you realize just how amazing that is. There aren’t too many feelings in the world that are better than knowing you can just be you. For the friends who listened – this week and any week, both new friends and old – thank you for always letting me be ME. As the famous 19th century author and poet Oscar Wilde so brilliantly stated, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
So very, very true.
On the listening end, I hope I created that same feeling, that same sense of belonging, for my friends. And I hope I was successful in my attempt to apply some of the learnings I’ve gained from the Thursday night Torah class I attend. Specifically, I was reminded of this piece of wisdom: a good friend doesn’t let her friend go into a spiral of blaming and complaining and darkness. A good friend doesn’t necessarily take your side and jump onto the victim train with you to make you feel better. A good friend – the kind of friend I try to be – encourages her friend to rise above her challenges, to see things from new perspectives, to admit if things could have been done differently, and to move forward with a fresh perspective and a stronger mind and heart. To one specific friend this week – you know who you are – thanks for showing up as you and for letting me show up as me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Not surprisingly, as life tends to do, ideas are coming full circle again, this time back to a piece I wrote a few weeks ago that described the ingredients I will try feed my soul to live a meaningful life: Positivity, authenticity, wisdom, and love. By creating that sense of belonging for me, allowing me to be ME, the people I cherish in my life showed me all of these…and more. For that, I am truly grateful.
Thank you for letting me be me.