Jim Carey (actor) once said “depression is your body saying ‘f*ck you, I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created. It’s too much for me.’” This brilliant insight holds a big clue about belonging. It is this; if our thoughts, feelings, or behavior is based on anything other than our most true self, we pay a price. Our soul is eroded by the existence of our false self because its nature is to take up the space our true self is supposed to inhabit. So, to whatever degree it exists in or as ourselves, it disrupts our connections with other people in the structure of belonging we discover and build together.
Our lifelong task is to learn who we are. Some of this learning needs to be done in the stillness and silence of solitude but most can only be done in the context of relationships. Our true identity is not defined or experiencecd outside of belonging because who we are is for our community. No one’s purpose is to be rich and comfortable. Everyone’s one-of-a-kind purpose has something to do with the generative work that is done in groups. That identity-centric, collaborative purpose can only be discovered through personal, honest, and action-oriented interdependence.
It is a paradox. To grow through the darkness that haunts us and drives us into isolation, we must connect. To learn who we are, we must seek the input of others. But there are no “others” who do not also need input. It is reciprocal dependency. Even as you seek out and take the relational resources you need, the value of your true self is needed for others. We are a symbiotic species - just like all the other ones.
I write in a geeky, sciency, hopefully poetic way about belonging, storytelling, community building, deconstruction and construction,