Flashback to the performing arts academy where I, a chubby teen, feel like an outcast among the other girls, all of whom I see as far more experienced at dancing, singing, and acting? In my (likely distorted) view, they are all part of one big cohesive group (even though surely there must have been a fair share of drama among them). I don't belong, I think. It's a story I've taken with me throughout both my childhood and adult life. It affected me in high school, as a graduate student, and later as a teacher. Anytime I found myself in a group situation, I felt like an outsider.
Many people share this uncomfortable perception, but I thought I was the only one. This fitting-in vs. not fitting-in thing is a big part of our existential human experience. It became an old story, though--one I wanted to abandon. We hang onto our stories because they protect us. If I label myself as an outsider, I no longer need to try very hard to find my place within the whole. I can simply opt out. I wanted it, but the pain of feeling rejected was something I must have subconsciously decided to avoid. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle urges us to give up our old stories, primarily because they're indications of ego.
But I also know, from my work as a hypnotherapist, that old stories function as protective mechanisms. If it really had been true of me--that I was an outsider--it could have been because I gave off that particular vibe to those around me as a way of not having to engage in the process of finding my own niche within the larger whole. I felt like an outsider, so I behaved like one, and was therefore treated like one. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if ever there was one.
What would happen if I simply let go of the old story, and began to rehearse a new thought? I'm as much a part of the group as anyone else. All groups have diversity within them, and there's as much room for my kind as for any other.
Now, instances and feelings of belongingness are popping up in my life all over the place. Sometimes, all we need to do is let go of an old story about ourselves to usher in a new reality.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
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