“Fitting in” vs “Belonging”– Satisfying your fundamental human need starts in your body!
I recently spent some time looking at some old pictures, scraps of paper, notes, ticket stubs, and the like, that I haven’t managed to let go of. Most of it was going back to when I was a teenager and a young adult. It was very interesting to see previous versions of me, people I cared about, and people I’d nearly forgotten about in everything I looked at.
It got me thinking about what it means to belong. My family moved a lot when I was a kid. I moved a lot as an adult. I experienced pain in my childhood around a pervasive sense that I didn’t belong. When I got older, I found that I had a gift to be able to mix and mingle with all sorts of groups and people. It was a relief, but part of me wasn’t convinced.
I sometimes felt like I could belong anywhere. The rest of the time, I felt like I belonged nowhere. I had no idea that my the health and integrity of my body– my spine and nervous system– could be the basis for this stress, as well as the key to transforming it.
Brene Brown has said this about “fitting in” versus belonging:
“In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. 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—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.”
That humans have such a strong need physically, mentally, and emotionally to belong should be no surprise. For our paleolithic hunter-gatherer ancestors, with whom we are nearly genetically identical, belonging was life or death.
Most who have known me over the past 20 years would most likely laugh at the notion that I ever tried to “fit in.” I may not have ever been into “gourd painting” like Brene Brown, but I have surely been known for having some unusual idiosyncracies and interests. Still, a feeling that I didn’t belong seemed to play in the background of each cell in my body like radio interference.
To feel that we belong is to feel safe, free, grounded, and valued. To be able to truly feel belonging, we first need to feel it in our bodies.
Level 1 of Network Care first and foremost creates safety in the nervous system. As our bodies move out of a stress physiology, our hormones change, our posture changes, inflammation in the body decreases, and healing takes place. The brain can finally receive all the messages from the body without interference. A profound sense of ease and relaxation can spread through our bodies from the inside out. Our systems have found safety; our systems have found belonging.
Network Care helped me find that sense of belonging I had been missing all my life. When I started care, I had just moved to a new city and was experiencing a lot of pain and anxiety. I remember when I left my chiropractor’s office after the first appointment, vaguely wondering how what she seemed to be doing was supposed to help me with my issues.
As I walked down the street, the sun was shining and I slowly realized that I felt like I was moving in slow motion. My legs felt light and relaxed, yet purposeful. What I felt in my body was like nothing I ever felt before. Looking back on it now, I know that this new sense of ease was my nervous system learning belonging.
Care for your nervous system, over the course of your lifetime as wellness care, is such a profound way to experience connection, belonging, and ability to contribute– all starting in our bodies.
I am honored to be your chiropractor and look forward to serving you this week!