H - Absence of loveI recently had the opportunity to watch Marie Forleo’s interview of Brené Brown on her new book – Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

One quote really jumped out at me: “In the absence of love and belonging there is always suffering – that I know for sure.”

I looked up the quote, and see Brené Brown has been promoting this concept through her other books and writings for years! It’s a foundational concept.

Brené also talked to Marie Forleo about a key Belonging Practice that changed her: “Do not walk through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong – as you will find it.” That rang true for me, as I can catch myself looking for evidence of where I don’t belong: in a Church, in an extended large family, in a co-housing community.

She tells us “Our worth and our belonging are not negotiated with other people. We carry those inside of our hearts… I am not going to negotiate who I am with you because then, and this is the heart of the book, then I may fit in for you, but I no longer belong to myself.”

On the dustjacket of her new book, she emphasizes: ‘True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

As I look back at the list of places I do not see myself belonging, it becomes clear that the quest to be oneself reveals places of belonging. I am Ukrainian, from Montreal, a woman, mother, writer, peacemaker, daughter, sister, friend.

As Brené Brown teaches us:

“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”

So the irony seems to be that to belong to others, we must first lay a foundation of belonging to ourselves!