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The struggle of "Fitting In"

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Why has it always been hard to fit find a community I felt I belonged to? Moving overseas, trying to adjust and fit in has helped identify an emotional program that has prevented me from 'fitting in'.

Having lived in the shadow of shame and the associated emotional pain for all of my adolescence and young adulthood, I looked for opportunities where I could isolate myself away from reliving the experiences that built said shame and pain. An avoidance that became an art form, a tested proven skill and ultimately an emotional blueprint for loneliness.

I have moved around most of my adulthood to explore and experience life. Even if I was living in one place for a longer period of time, I travelled constantly for work and pleasure, hoping that the next place I moved to or visited would bring a fresh chapter for my life. I was seeking true and valuable friendships, prosperity and peace while running from any sign of the shame. I never really fitted in. I struggled to make friends, to find groups of people that truly resonated with me and made me feel safe and comfortable. To no avail. Not discounting the beautiful individuals in my life that have brought love, light and happiness, I truly never felt like I belonged to a community or a way of being.

Moving to the US has had its delights and its struggles. Culturally, it was a shock to the system. Energetically it has been a myriad of experiences to navigate and adjust to. Add to that, not only a very lengthy holding pattern for immigration processes but also the adjustment and navigation of a new relationship. Earlier this year I took things in my stride and was naïve to the length of pending immigration processes. That stride saw me jumping into things with excitement and gusto to make a difference. Only to face some major challenges with being dumped on by peers, being lied about, false stories being spread about me / shared with me then seeing people believe such stories by avoiding me and defriending me. All stemming from their limiting beliefs, fears and insecurities, I know…but none-the-less, challenging to process and ultimately triggering a fear of fitting in. Those incidents caused me to go to ground, to distance myself but in turn, those actions triggered my limiting beliefs that people can’t be trusted. But was that all that was going on for me? No!

The fear to fit in became a clever disguise of comfortability. I became more and more comfortable waiting, more and more comfortable hiding out in our home. Our home became a safe haven for me. A retreat to escape the struggle of fitting in. A retreat that started to truly impact all aspects of my life. Once the holding pattern lifted, I was confronted with the need to get on with things, to build a new life and achieve. So, I got busy. I was pretty much ready to go, to launch into a new working life to the point I had things in place with a day or two tweaking needed, then out of the starting blocks I would shoot. That’s not what happened. I had felt fear rising slowly but was stemmed by excitement. Then I got sick. I got emotional. To the point where I began questioning everything. I was in an emotional spiral downwards…I had conflict with everything including myself. Like I have always done, I was able to put on a brave face in public and show there was nothing really wrong. But my emotional blueprint for loneliness kicked in, in a big way. The spiral was turbulent, my whole world was on shaky grounds with no clear way through the thicket I allowed to grow.

I couldn’t see a way forward at all. I felt so isolated I started mentally processing all the worst-case scenarios that were available to me. The fear of those scenarios where being met with the tough tenacious exterior that had the potential to empower me to execute one of the scenarios, resulting in my life being in major change (again). A change that would mask as a new opportunity but in fact would allow the old emotional program to control me…leave the past behind, move on, don’t look back and stay lonely.

This time I had a sinking feeling in my gut that the turmoil was being caused by something much deeper and it was time to work that out. It felt out of reach. I spent the best part of two days fighting with my emotional mind, with my rational mind, and with my worst-case scenario (negative) mind. The worst-case scenario mind was winning for quite some time. It was time to act!

I took time to isolate myself outdoors to really process what was truly going on for me…why it felt like my world was falling apart…why I was willing to pack my life up again and move on to the next experience. I called on insight, I called on practicality, I tried to meditate, I did a lot of talking to myself, I journaled. I basically did everything I would suggest to my clients to do as a means of working through such a situation. I stepped back and took a hard look at myself…I leaned into the emotions that were running rampant through me to try and find clarity of the cause of the emotional distress. After 7 hours of floundering around it finally came to me. I was being held ransom to a limiting emotional program of loneliness. I was able to trace back to the time and place the seed for the program was planted in my subconscious and identified subsequent experiences that fuelled it.

It was in 6th grade…some 34 years ago. I had a circle of friends I had known since pre-school. Our families knew each other, we did the same childhood activities, we hung out at school together, played together just like normal kids. Our school was big on having student lead entertainment in class each week. Not just the standard show and tell sessions but giving kids options to put on skits like a pseudo talent-show. As part of my processing of the current emotional pain I was experiencing at the age of 45, I was taken back to a time that I had erased from my memory. A time that, I now realise, was so influential in how I lived the rest of my live to date.

My group of friends and I had decided to put on a puppet show. We had agreed on sharing of tasks, who would take on what role and do which activities to set things up. I remember being enthusiastic and gave some ideas which we agreed on. So off we went to do our allocated activities. A couple of days before the scheduled day to present the puppet show to our class and the class in the adjacent classroom, there was a coup. My friends turned on me and told me I was no longer part of the puppet show, that they had decided to change things including me not being in it. When it came time for them to put on the puppet show, I had to sit through what was a complete replica of what my ideas were…the backdrop, the characters, parts of the script. I sat and watched them get praise for excluding me…for using my ideas. They thought it was hilarious. When I confronted them, they told me I was a liar, they didn’t use any ideas of mine and I never had any involvement in the planning at all. I was pretty hurt and humiliated. They outcaste me.

For some reason I remained friends with them, only for them to do it all over again later in the year. We had decided to put on a ‘Touch or Taste’ activity where volunteers were blindfolded and asked if they wanted to touch or taste random items to guess their identity to win a prize. Again, everything was set. Roles allocated and tasks assigned. My friends pulled out on the morning of the scheduled day telling me they weren’t involved, leaving me to put on the skit with very limited resources. I scrambled to try and source items for the skit…to no avail. It was a complete shamble. Complete humiliation with the teacher yelling at me for wasting everyone’s time. I tried to explain to the teacher my friends were meant to be part of the skit but they denied it and called me a liar. I was obviously a glutton for punishment as I stayed friends with them. The humiliation extended for a long time with fun being made of me any time another group performed the same skit. Then there was the issue of the granulated garlic I had used as one of the items in the skit…it spilled throughout my school bag on the way home. The retched smell became a constant reminder of the humiliation for the rest of the school year.

The following year another episode where they told me one of the friends had caught a finch (small wild bird) while he was visiting his family’s farm the weekend before and that I could have it as a pet if I picked it up from his house. I planned with the friend to pick the bird up from his house. My mother drove me to the friend’s place (my mother was friends with his mother) only to be told there was no finch. Again, humiliated and told I was a liar, that he never told me they had a finch for me. His mother was suspicious as to why we would show up with a bird cage and confronted her son. He lied to his mother (while standing in front of a cage of about 2 dozen finches) and we left. Completely deflated, humiliated and lost. Why would ‘friends’ lie to me?

I was 11 years old. I was bewildered as to why friends would do such things. I began to feel isolated and spent less time with them. I wallowed in the hurt…all along feeding the seed of loneliness. Even writing this now brings a wave of pain that forces me to walk away for a moment. Why? As the rest of my life has been governed by the emotional pain residing in me as a result of that humiliation. I was an easy going, free spirited child that wouldn’t hurt anyone…but I was subject to and allowed hurt in many different ways as a result of that program being seeded in my subconscious.

As humans, we play down our true emotions so often to the extent we forget about them…push them away out of our memory. My generation and older especially, as we were raised with the view that ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘stiff upper lip and move on’, ‘toughen-up’. All things society taught me but in retrospect failed me. Reflecting back as I processed this current blockage to life, I saw how these incidents created who I became. We entered high school (8th grade was the beginning of high school back then) and at the end of the first semester of the year, I decided to not hang around those friends. As our high school was quite large and pooled students from 5 or 6 rural primary schools, I got to see different types of people and thought I wanted to be friends with more progressive and fun people. I struggled. Because my old friends were categorised as nerds, I was in the shadow of that categorisation. Top that with shyness and what I now know was a fear of humiliation, it was difficult to make new friends. The second semester became lonely. I was too shy to approach people. As I had turned on the old friends because of how they treated me, they didn’t want anything to do with me. I was isolated. I spent the summer holiday lonely, on my own, at home amusing myself with no friends to call on. I soldiered on into the 9th grade which was the start of 4 years of continuous, all-day bullying...every day. Bullying that made me known all over the school (1200 students) and did not stop until graduation day in Senior year where I walked out and never looked back.

"Sometimes we need support to take the first step…to muster the bravery to uncover our past trauma".

All this time I thought this bullying was the major component of my lonely life. For the struggles as a young adult trying to fit in (as portrayed in blog entry “Shedding Emotional Pain!” [7 September 2012], which led to me working with beautiful spiritual and emotional healers for the last 17 years to find peace and forgiveness.

The loneliness program was real. It played out in so may different ways. Major shyness, fear of being hurt, never fitting in, not knowing how to make new friends, excelling in individual sports (tennis, track & field) and climbing the corporate ladder to shut out the loneliness, moving to new cities to leave the old behind and of late, solitary behaviour that has impacted me deeply and unhealthily.

After co-facilitating a workshop earlier this year, I had three of the participants ask me (in a nutshell) ‘why are you always the supporting actor and not the lead role?’. Bingo. Why indeed? Because I have had a subconscious program running unbeknown to me, of humiliation, of shame for being me, of not good enough, of not being able to do it on my own. All stemming from those incidents as a young impressionable 11-year-old.

I know from my own experience and from guiding others throughout the years that working on oneself is not always easy. It stirs up pain, hurt, turmoil that we left behind…that in fact, is still playing havoc on us and how we present ourselves to the world…how we show up. It has taken moving to a different country, being in a new relationship and navigating all the experiences that have occurred in the last 18 months for me to uncover that be able to discover the program that has been creating loneliness. Thanks to some unknown force within me that drove me to work through the emotional spiral I was in, I can now shine light on that program and pain to discard it for good. It will take a little time to process and adjust, but I have faith in the process and in me.

Using the techniques and processes I use with my clients, I have been able to lift the lid on the negative core emotional program that has created experiences I never wanted, over and over again. I can now focus on removing these energetic and emotional patterns, blockages and programs that no longer serve me, to allow my full potential to fall into place and support me to live my best life.

I am determined to live an Arete Life and support others to do the same. I respect my experiences of emotional trauma may be less intense than others have experienced in their life. This blog entry isn't about comparison, as trauma is trauma. Whether it is physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, mental or spiritual, trauma is trauma. It creates a life of struggle and pain if not processed and released. It is hard and a struggle to process when you feel you have to do it all on your own.

Living life to your full potential is possible. Sometimes we need support to take the first muster the bravery to uncover our past trauma and discover what the core issue is that is holding us back…that is causing us to have the same unwanted experiences over and over again. Sometimes we have to be willing to allow others to help us discard the past to let the ‘new’ flow in. I will continue to identify and work on releasing this core emotional program and any others that may pop up in the future. I encourage you to do so as well as the reward is unmeasurable.

Growth is painful at times. Change is painful at times. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don't belong. Many of us are open to supporting or listening to others in pain or need but we are reluctant or even fearful to express or share what is really going on for us, leaving us feel isolated and lonely. It is okay to say you are afraid, to be vulnerable and acknowledge your pain instead of avoiding the real story behind the pain.

It’s time to release the old pain and hurt that has been inflicted on us and live a better life. It’s time to express, share and release. You don't have to do it alone.

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