What It Takes to {Be}long?

“How far will you go to belong?”

A sense of belonging whether it is at work, school, church or anywhere else is probably one of the most assuring feelings one could ever have. It is the knowing that they do not consider you any different from the rest of the crowd. That feeling of being accepted…you belong.

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“I need to be like everyone else.”

When I was new at work, I felt like I didn’t belong there. Not because of the nature of my work but rather it’s the feeling, or should I say, vibes – that I got from everyone else. Fast forward to today, I still get the same feeling most times. Only this time, it is because my work etiquette is different from everyone else. As years go by, more and more of my colleagues (mostly Asians and a few Hispanics) sacrificed their work dignity just because everyone is doing it, just because their honesty and hard work are not being recognized, and awarded. “We are getting the same evaluation like everyone else, so why work any different?“, they said. At times,  I’m tempted to be like everyone else. To be one of the crowd. To belong…

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“Which is worse, finding yourself in a crowd or losing yourself to be with the crowd?”

And in their quest to belong, they lose themselves. We lose ourselves. I know now why people toughen up. I know now why people build this wall around themselves. I know now why people pretend to not care anymore. I know now what makes them do the things that they normally wouldn’t want others to do to them.  I know now why they behave certain ways towards others. We made them do that. What they say is a response to what we said and how we said it. How they act mirrors how we act towards them. Their tougher demeanor is a reflection of the tough treatment we gave them. You know, call them names and they’ll be like that towards you. Show them force and they’ll give you a much stronger force. We answer lies with lies. Curse with a curse. Connection with distance. Truth with silence.

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“They said we live in a tough world. I don’t think we do. I think we live in a world full of tough people trying to outdo others. Everyone is in their quest to belong. It sure makes for a tough world.”

This is how we survive. This is how we belong.

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