Social Anxiety & Community: To “Fit in” vs. “Belong” in a Temporary Home

Yep I said it- social anxiety. I am not using this word lightly, nor do I want to undermine the experiences of anyone who has/had the disorder. Rather, I would like to ask you to read this in the lens of me being vulnerable in sharing my own personal story with the intent to make space for more honest conversations about mental illness and the stigmas surrounding it.

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In our day and people-pleasing culture, we spend a tremendous amount of energy  to try to”fit in”-to be sociable, interesting, likable, and relatable. Perhaps you are extra blessed and could care less about what people think of you (not trying to act “idgaf”, but actually dgaf), excel naturally at socializing, feel confident wherever you go with whoever you meet, and find complete peace and happiness in who you are. Shoot, the old me would have loved to be you instead (okay…maybe even now). Regardless of if you’re another victim to people-pleasing like me or if this is not a general concern for you, it is innately engraved in our human heart and mind to harbor the desire to be accepted by others (“fit in”) and have a place to feel belonging. Somehow, these two desires got skewed and synonymous to one another, when in fact they are quite the opposite.

At this moment, I can call myself a very “social” person and most people would agree with me. I am naturally very relational, strongly value close relationships I can deeply connect with, and have decent interpersonal skills.

Okay, get to the point- So why is someone like you, then, talking about this particular subject matter?

Let’s take a short *ahem*  trip down memory lane.

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