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The Struggle of Not Feeling Like We Belong
But what if it's our differences that actually connect us?
Well, I just got back from teaching at the Toronto Tantra Festival. What an interesting experience!
One theme that came up with some of us was the idea of "belonging". One of my friends felt that he didn't belong because of some of the "dude" energy coming from some of the men. He felt like he'd been transported back to his school days feeling like an outsider.
Personally, I often struggle with why I am teaching there. The festival tends heavily towards the "neo-tantric world", meaning that there is a lot of focus on sexuality, releasing shame and fear, consent, etc. But I tend towards the classical tantric, spiritual way. So, sometimes, I have a hard time blending my world with their world... and this is why I sometimes struggle to share the festival with others because just because you're drawn to my work doesn't mean that you'd be drawn to the highly-sexual vibe of the festival.
And yet, the organizers really like having me there.
Why? Because I'm different. Because I offer the classical perspective. Because I'm not scary and I'm a safe place for participants to land.
In this sense, I BELONG BECAUSE I AM DIFFERENT. It is my difference that contributes to the group... not my similarities.
I think that this is where we often get into trouble. We believe that in order to belong, we must be like other people. It is the mono-cultural/clan thinking that many of us were brought up with. We have to be the same. We don't know how to exist being different... and yet CONNECTED.
It’s interesting when you sit back and think about how you want to be perceived. We often don’t want to be lumped in with the others. We actually do want to be seen for our individuality. We want to be our true unique selves.
I think that one of the challenges is that sub-groups often form made up of people who are all similar in some way. This creates cliques that we are not a part of. This is where we feel left out, judged, and less than others.
I would love to know your thoughts on this. I would love to know your experience and wisdom!
Where have you experienced this struggle to belong?
How do your differences help you fit in with the whole group?
Is it because we struggle with self-esteem that this is even an issue?
I’d love to know your thoughts and have a discussion together!