I was at a show the other day where a member of the audience asked the author Neil Gaiman “How do you deal with not belonging here?”. To which he answered (much more eloquently and elaborately): None of us do.
I did wonder for a bit what he meant and how I felt about it. I have often felt like I didn’t below somewhere and it was isolating. It was either I didn’t understand the sense of humor or I didn’t feel I could keep up with the topics. To be honest – I often felt I was not even interested in the topics. Other times I felt like an imposter. I was at events or in meetings with people more successful than me and I would wonder what I was doing there feeling out of space due to my lack of experience, gender and age. There are many situations we can feel out of place, if you start thinking about it, I am sure you can think of one or two in a matter of minutes.
That is the thing. We all tend to feel out of place. We all are pretending to know what is going on and that we belong. No one actually belongs to any one or any thing. We just tell ourselves that. And some people are better and convincing themselves than others. That is the core of it – we all feel weird at one point or another. And its ok. If we all don’t feel like we belong, then that is perhaps what makes us all belong in the first place. Does that make sense? If we are all misfits, then we all fit together, no?
I remember learning during my meditation training that the biggest misconception in human kind is that we all feel like we are alone. We all feel isolated and that we are going through something no one else is going through. And if you think about it, its crazy. Could it really be that you are experiencing something 7 billion people living with you on earth never have? Why are we all so scared of sharing how we really feel? Why is it so hard to be vulnerable? Its like people don’t want to admit to you or anyone else that they don’t feel like they belong. Somehow society is built to believe that admitting you unconfort makes you weak. Yet instead what it does, is it awakens the same feeling in others. And a lot of people try to avoid their feelings. If you talk about your feelings, then you are confronting someone else with them too. Perhaps they are not ready to be confronted with uncomforted and hence, they let this out on you.
People have a way of harming one another. If intentional or not. Just know though, that we are all just trying to get by. Whatever you are feeling, someone else is feeling that too and is perhaps looking at you to see how you deal with it.
The only way to deal with feelings is to address them. To embrace them as if they were their own human (ever seen the movie “Inside Out”?) and to live life knowing you are never truly the alone.