How can you belong when you don’t fit in?
The need to belong is strong in humans. It’s key to our survival. Without it, we would have been left to fend for ourselves in development, and subjected to the risks of living without protection from our tribe. It’s an innate human desire to exist within the context of something larger than us.
But this desire to belong can cause confusion. We seek it by trying to fit in, or gain acceptance in the wrong places. These things are not routes to belonging. In fact, as Brené Brown says, they are ‘often barriers to it’.
We can’t belong if we bring a false, hammed up, idealised, inauthentic version of ourselves to the world. Even if it helps us ‘fit in’. We are aware of these experiences because they make us feel like fakes, and resenting those who want us to be what we’re not.
However, as Brown says, it is through the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect, that we discover true belonging, first within ourselves.
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The Gentle Rebel
And this brings us once again, to the starting point of gentle rebellion: embracing the joy of not fitting in.
The Gentle Rebel lives life with joy, outside of those things they’ve been told they need to value and pursue if they want to fit in to the world ‘properly.
She embraces the joy of living without the desire for power. She understands that through embracing her incompleteness, brokenness, and fragmented self, she finds meaning and purpose. Not through becoming a finished product, but by realising that she will never be a finished product.
It’s by accepting that we can never be perfect enough that we can become good enough.
Communities of Healthy Rebellion
When we live life alongside others who understand these things, we are within a community of unfathomable strength, courage, and potential for rebellion. These kinds of communities help us become more self-aware, self-accepting, and courageous, in how we shine a light on the systems which keep us stuck in old unhealthy cycles and patterns.
The rebel rejects the idea that there is a destination. There is no great secret or purpose that will give them all the answers they crave. Instead, life is a never ending series of questions and challenges. And we get to choose how we will respond as we go along.
Healthy rebellion is a product of healthy community. And healthy community is a collection of people which reflects the heart and character of its individuals. It doesn’t seek to change them to make them conform. Instead IT changes and evolves as it reflects the lives of those who belong to it.
Peter Rollins says we need to build micro-societies of resistance with a rebellious spirit. Helping people think for themselves, reflect on things for themselves, with rituals and creative practices to help people look at their own frustrations/struggles, so they can bring them to the surface. Not telling people what to think about believe in order to fit in. But building one another up, embracing the unique sensitivities of individuals, and connecting at our most basic level of humanness.
This is how I see The Haven. My vision has been to hold a space for introverts and sensitive creative people to think for themselves, reflect on things, and engage in creative practices, which help them look at their own struggles/frustrations. Then we can support and encourage one another in bringing these to the surface so we can actually use them.
The Haven is a place of reflection and questioning. It probes gently into the symptoms of our discontent, so that we can address their causes. Rather than seeking ways to become numb to the pain and discomfort that they cause. It’s a place of self-acceptance, self-discovery, and self-care. Where you can be yourself and unleash your gently rebellious spirit on the world.