How to belong by choosing not to

The desire to belong is a fundamental part of human nature.  To have a sense of place in the world, while being seen, heard and accepted for who you are.

In contrast, having to change to be accepted isn’t belonging, it’s conforming or trying to fit in.

HSPs often feel they don’t belong anywhere.  Because – amongst other things – their emotions are too big and their perspective is frequently out of sync with the majority.

The HSPs I’ve met have all felt they needed to change or hide something to have a chance of belonging.  But how do you change who you are and how you’re wired?

And do you want to?  That question turned my thinking about belonging on its head.

It came from a colleague. She’d wanted to belong all her life … until she realised that she’d been choosing not to.


She’d come to see that she wasn’t like the people she’d aspired to belong with and didn’t want to be.

She’d been at the edge because she hadn’t been willing to compromise who she was.  Being herself mattered more to her than belonging.

She’d been standing in her power all along.  Choosing not to belong to tribes that weren’t hers.


I realised I’d been doing the same.  I just hadn’t seen it.  A curious paradox that, once recognised, changed everything.

I wasn’t the victim of others’ decisions about whether to let me in or not.  I was the seeker of my own people.

And I found them by being who I am, leaving where I didn’t fit and which, more importantly, didn’t fit me.

The more I followed my heart, the more kindred spirits I found.    You can too.

It starts with accepting and embracing your sensitivity.  Which tends to happen automatically when you understand you’re an HSP, not flawed.  And you’re not alone.

As Brene Brown says, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are”.

So where are you with belonging, my fellow HSP?  Do you understand and accept yourself yet?  Have you found the people – HSP or otherwise – who welcome you for who you are, maybe even relish it?

You don’t need many people.  But you’ll know them when you find them.  And it’ll be a joy when you do.