My mom and dad were standing by the door.
My dad was about to leave for work.
They hugged, and their bodies were squeezed together so tight that there was no room in between them for anything.
Not even some air. Not even me.
I was standing and looking up to them. They were so tall—so far away from me. I took a step closer.
They were still hugging. Not hugging me. I took another step. I wanted to be part of it. I tried to hug them with my tiny arms; I tried to squeeze between the two of them.
“I belong to this, too,” I announced.
This is all I have wanted, my whole life, to belong to “this.”
I am yearning to belong to something, to somewhere, to someone.
“I belong to this too.” And they laughed.
Because what I said was adorable—a cute comment from a four-year-old child? Or because I was clearly not good enough to belong to this—a hug, something that looks nice and comforting? Or because I clearly belonged to it all—not only the hug, but the lies that were underneath the hug? The fights, the hatred, the screaming and the misery that finally led to a divorce thirteen years later?
It was all true.
I was a part of it all: part of the pain that made all our lives miserable. That pain is why I’m still walking around in broken pieces.
I am still not good enough for anything other than tears. I am not good enough for a hug or any sense of belonging—at least this is how I feel. It is comical that I crave it so much.
This sweet, innocent statement from a child-me turned into a desperate wish, an unachievable goal, an endless cycle of desiring to belong.
I want to belong to this. I am longing to belong to something, to somewhere, to someone…
The above above was written many years ago. I accidentally stumbled upon them on my hard-drive.
But the feeling hasn’t changed. The need for belonging has followed me throughout my life.
At thirty-one I still crave it.
Leading a nomadic life is exciting, fascinating and fulfilling, yet it can get lonely at times. Not having a home-base causes insecurities. Being in a long-term relationship with my partner for seven years is clearly bringing happiness and some form of security into my life, but going through longer stretches of long-distance, separated by an ocean, also brings on difficulties.
Years of inner-work allowed me to peel many layers off of my artichoke and to let go of a lot, there are still many layers to go through to completely let go of the insecurities and trauma of my childhood. I am continuously working on nurturing my inner-child.
But, let’s get out of victim-mode.
I have the power to create my life.
So, how do I deal with my need for belonging, feelings of insecurity and potential loneliness? Here are my three, fool-proof tips:
Realizing that loneliness and the feeling of not belonging are just feelings, not facts. Memories can come up even without us even recognizing them, and automatically trigger emotions. If these emotions are negative, we start feeling sad or angry and trigger further negative emotions and memories. We create a roller-coaster of negativity and in the end convince ourselves that life is terrible. But if we recognize that memories are just memories, and that feelings are just feelings, not facts, we can let go of them.
Journaling. Journaling is my go-to therapy and best friend. I start my days with my morning pages. I have my idea journal. I have my day-time journal where I write whenever I need to express my emotions. Journaling allows me to realize the root causes of my problems. Journaling allows me to let go of issues. Journaling also allows me to connect with myself, realize my dreams and to feel heard.
Connecting with Nature. Being in and connecting with nature is my most powerful tool. A long run, especially on trails, allows me to connect with the universe and put things into perspective. A beautiful hike, gorgeous views, pretty flowers or a wonderful sunset puts an instant smile on my face. Tree hugging creates the feeling of love and connection. In nature, I am able to see the bigger picture—that I most certainly belong.
I belong to this absolutely wonderful universe where everything and everyone is connected and has a purpose.
How could I feel lonely when I belong to something to big?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kat Gal
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Daniel Krieg/Flickr