As humans we like to categorize things, people, feelings, anything. Psychologically, we accommodate and assimilate from the minute we know better. Dogs with dogs, cats with cats, shirts in the drawer, dresses on the rack. We even tend to categorize ourselves when we try to find where we feel we fit best or, in other words, where we feel that our “place” in this world or a specific community is.
To do this, we have to know ourselves. We need to know what we like to do, what we value, what we find pride in, what we find distasteful, etc. in order to know ourselves. But knowing yourself isn’t easy, and I’m still unsure as to whether it’s possible to fully know. We discover new things about ourselves almost every day; we have to constantly accommodate and assimilate our own qualities to our own perception of who we are.
With a constant drive to find our “place” in this world and a difficulty in knowing who we really even are, frustration ensues. Feeling like you jump around from too many places or feeling like you don’t belong to any can create sense of lacking community.
The constant drive to categorize ourselves ends up limiting us. You don’t need to be one thing, act in one way, or only hang out with one group of people, or be in any one place. We are where we belong as long as we’re being ourselves and doing what makes us happy, no matter how many “places” we are.
It happens to me a lot. Over the past few years I’ve changed dramatically in some ways and not so much in others. Coming to Hope, I became a lot more involved and a lot more interested in getting to know people than I was in high school, but I still remained in touch with my quieter side that likes to read, write, and be on my own sometimes. With such a contrast, it’s hard to know where I really belong. I guess a good motto to follow is to just go and be where I’m happy.
Our place where we belong might be constantly changing day by day, and we need to learn to live with the differences and inconsistencies, to not try to fit ourselves into one box labeled ‘this is me’. Instead we should open up our boxes, dumb out the contents, and sort through it all. We have more room to fit new stuff into them and we don’t need to constrict the size or space that it occupies. It can be tiring but reassuring that if you’re doing what feels right to you in the moment, you’re in the right “place”.
Thanks for reading,
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