I had just left a room filled with people. Lots of whom I knew and enjoyed. We had danced, laughed, ate, and celebrated. But as I walked out this overwhelming feeling came of “I didn’t fit in there. Nobody really got me.” Nobody was rude. Nobody had been mean. They were all nice people, but I really just did not feel like I fit in.
A while back I did a very unofficial poll of some of my friends, and I asked them if they often felt like they didn’t fit in.
You wanna know what? MOST of them said that they did not feel like they fit in. A few said that sometimes they did but it was only with select groups.
And here is the funny thing, most of the friends I asked are people who I think are quite socially proficient and popular. They have lots of friends, are easy to talk to, and have a high level of competence in their field. They aren’t loners or painfully shy individuals.
Then, I polled my Instagram friends. 85% said that they do NOT feel like they fit in overall! And then only 50% said that they feel like they fit in with certain groups.
Google had 4.9 Billion hits to the question “how to fit in?”
Holy Cow! That’s a LOT of people who feel like they don’t fit in!
Truth be told, I think that we all feel like we are on the outside a LOT. We have ALL felt like we don’t fit in. Even though I am quite comfortable talking to just about anybody and I have no issue connecting with people, I still don’t feel like I fit in most of the time.
Why??? I have moved past the junior high phase of feeling like I needed to have all the same kind of clothes as my friends, wear the coolest shoes all the time to really “fit in.”
So what is it that we need in order to feel like we fit in? Here’s the answer I came up with:
We want to be with people who get us.People who, we feel like, understand our hearts. People who know us intimately and treasure us deeply. We long to be fully known AND perfectly loved. We want people to know the things that make us different and unique and yet have them accept us and love us.
I love how C.S. Lewis puts it:
“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
Please hear my heart in this: In saying that I often feel like I don’t fit in, I am NOT saying that I do not have fantastic friends and people. I do. In fact, my relationships are one of the things that I am MOST thankful for in my life. I have some AMAZING friends.
But even in my best friendships, groups of friends, even in a marriage, there are still moments when I feel like my heart is not fully understood.
Here is what I have come to realize and actually love:
There is only One who will ALWAYS get me.
Only One with whom I can always have perfect fellowship.
And while I DO believe that our relationships with people are truly some of THE greatest blessings and biggest tools for refinement, people cannot replace our Savior as our most intimate friend.
As I have grown here and learned to not find too much of my fulfillment in people, these are 6 things that have really helped me.
1. Take your heart to Jesus first
Without fail my days go better and I am kinder to my people if I start my day off with my Quiet Time: journaling, prayer, Bible reading, and worship music. I am so much better off when I intentionally take whatever it is that I need help with to Jesus, find out what He has to say about it, and allow Him to speak life and healing through His Word and His Spirit.
2. Recognize when you are asking too much of your people
Listen, I LOVE my husband. We have a legitimately great marriage. But he cannot fulfill my every relational need. He is not Jesus and I cannot ask him to heal me like only Jesus can. If I do, I am setting Nate up for failure. On an even more practical level, he’s not always available to talk. (Nate works an awesome day job, while I work at home and raise our kid). While Nate is certainly the first human that I should talk to about big life questions or ask for prayer, sometimes it’s really ok to text a gal pal of mine and see if we can chat.
3. Recognize if you need healing in an area
I have yet to meet one human who doesn’t/didn’t have SOME issue from their past that needed some emotional healing. Even the BEST childhoods are still sprinkled with a few broken humans who maybe said or did something wrong and wounded a precious soul. Take heart, dear one. Jesus came to seek and to save ALL that was lost. He is the restorer of our souls, and your wounds, no matter how big or small, are worth seeking healing. If you can get to a good Bible based Christian counselor, I highly suggest it.
These books/programs are a few of my favorites and most recommended for inner healing. 21daybraindetox.com, Captivating, Becoming Myself, Wild at Heart, Girls With Swords, Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry, Without Rival
*Some of these are affiliate links, and if you choose to purchase through them I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
4. Look for unique and beautiful things in others and celebrate them
If you are feeling like your uniqueness is not being celebrated and your heart is not being understood, there’s a good chance that the people around you feel the same way. Start looking for strengths in other people and compliment them. Celebrate them! Ask open ended, deeper questions of your acquaintances. Give them the chance to share their heart. Don’t do these things in an effort to get others to celebrate you or to fish for compliments. Have pure motives here. But there IS the principle of sowing and reaping at work here. If you sow some seeds of love and celebration, you will reap the harvest thereof.
5. Niche down
I rarely (ok never) felt like my school friends understood my passion for rodeo. So I quit looking for commonalities with them in that area. Instead, I looked to my rodeo friends to encourage my passion there. If you are not feeling like anyone “gets” a particular aspect of you, maybe it’s time to find some people with similar passions! Attend a conference, join a small group at church, join some Facebook groups, start a group!
6. Broaden out
I know that this sounds contradictory, but hear me out. Maybe you need people who just get your level of dedication and passion overall. Maybe you don’t need someone who shares all your same ideas and passions. A couple of my best friends are in different industries than I am (photography and social media management) but we have some of THE best conversations about how to fuel our passions, build businesses, and impact the world using what we love to do.
You and your uniqueness are WORTH knowing and celebrating. Even if the people in your life have intentionally or unintentionally let you down here, rest in this:
There is One who knows you fully and loves you perfectly. There is One who celebrates you wholeheartedly and sacrifices deeply for you. There is One who is always faithful, Who always sees, Who always cares, and Who always leaves a seat for you at the table. You fill a void in His heart that no other can fill. With Him you are home and You belong.