Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? Explore how our guest blogger, Trish Kendall, overcame the feeling of being an outsider by sharing the life experiences that shaped her into the person she is today. From childhood trauma to adult challenges, Trish discovered that true belonging is created through authentic sharing. This is not a cookie-cutter story… it’s real and raw, so have your tissues handy, friend.
Today’s guest blog is brought to you by our friend Trish Kendall.
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong?
I have. I spent most of my life feeling that way. It was not until I chose to share my story —the life experiences that made me who I am— with others that I finally created my belonging.
I was only 7 years old when I lost my sense of belonging. It was stolen from me when my dad sexually abused me. To make matters worse, he then forced our family to move to a new town and a new school where the cycle continued. My dad kept sexually abusing me, and then forcing our family to move to new towns and new schools.
I hid my shame and dirtiness in fake smiles and rambunctious antics to get attention and try to make friends, but nobody wanted to be my friend. I was poor. I wasn’t pretty. I tried too hard. Even when there was a girl, from time to time, who would play with me at recess, my dad just uprooted us, with no warning or goodbyes, and forced us to move on to the next place. I never belonged anywhere so ultimately, I just stopped trying to.
What Happened Next
As a young adult, although I had settled in Chicago and had many people around me personally and professionally, I still didn’t belong anywhere. How could I, really? I had not yet realized (or wouldn’t admit) that belonging requires reciprocal action. It requires sharing the experiences that make us who we are. And based on my life, sharing seemed impossible.
Eventually, with the help of five amazing women, I chose to share my story. Through sharing my life experiences with others—and embracing the experiences that others shared with me—I finally created belonging.
It was not easy. Sharing took courage and vulnerability to open up about my experiences. It took trust and compassion to listen to others’ stories and empathize with their struggles. It took time and patience to build meaningful relationships and connections based on mutual respect and understanding.
But it was worth it. By sharing my story, I found people who accepted me for who I am, supported me in my healing journey, and celebrated my achievements and growth. By sharing my story, I found communities that welcomed me as a member, valued my contributions and feedback, and offered me opportunities and resources. By sharing my story, I found myself.
Nothing is more valuable to us as humans than who we are. Good or bad, our life experiences create those identities, and one of the best ways to create belonging is through sharing those individual experiences that make us who we are with one another.
“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” – Brené Brown
As Brené Brown once said, “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
Sharing your life experiences can be a way of honoring and celebrating who you are and who you can become. It can also be a way of connecting and contributing to a community that values and supports you.
So, here’s my advice to you.
- Start slowly and with curiosity.
- Ask questions and engage with the people around you.
- Help them feel safe to share with you.
- When you are ready, share with them.
When you share your identity-forming experiences with others, you never know who might relate, whose perspective might change, and who might be inspired by your courage and authenticity.
Unfortunately, people are hurting just like you. When you listen and embrace others’ experiences, you never know what you might learn, what you might feel, what you might discover about yourself and the world.
You are not alone in your quest for belonging. You have a story worth telling and hearing.
And so do I.
This guest blog on belonging through sharing was provided by our friend Trish Kendall. Keep reading for a little note from me and more info about Trish.
Hey guys, it’s Stef here.
First, I wanted to share that I was once interviewed by Trish! You can check that out here.
Second, look at these stats that Trish shared with me:
According to a study by BetterUp, published in Harvard Business Review1, if workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits: better job performance, lower turnover risk, and fewer sick days. The study found that belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, 2X more employee raises, 18X more employee promotions, and a 75% decrease in sick days1.
When you look around your everyday life, whether at work, your kid’s school, or even sometimes in your family, there is a good chance hidden pain exists. Creating a culture of belonging is not only good for your office, it is good for your home and good for your soul.
Trish is on a mission to help people. Will you help me help her by taking a minute to watch her share her inspiring story at a TEDx event? Watch this video and share it with anyone you know who may benefit. You never know when a friend is hurting.
Trish Kendall, an expert in creating enduring success, is proof that anyone can transform their life and become the most successful person they know!
Inspiring people around the world, and providing a pathway to enduring success, Trish brings candid stories, humor in the face of true hardship, simple lessons, compassion, and love to all her speaking engagements. Follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign up for her newsletter for regular inspiration and wisdom.