By Tracey Lady-Otsana Lane
Fitting in a group that is not right for you is very much like trying to put a round peg in a square hole.
Either you will get about half way in and be forced out because you just don't fit, or you'll force yourself all the way in and lose your original form all together...
Wanting to belong can be a way that we disregard our boundaries for a false version of reality, which can never truly be. In groups, remembering that people are who they are, and they are where they are at can help with learning when to let go. While your presence does impact and influence those around you...
....there is no guarantee that the group will grow or improve due to your efforts.
It's important to use discernment, intuition, observation and time, to teach you about those you intend to be around. Take time to look for cons or red flags like displays of willful ignorance, unwillingness to acknowledge behaviors, redirecting blame, and a lack of mindfulness. Remember to not just look at the cons, but also don't lie to yourself about their existence either (in exchange for pros which don't outweigh the cons).
Morals and ethics matter.
Awareness to self and others matters.
Willingness to reflect, acknowledge, and change, matters.
Damaging mindsets and behavior patterns, matter.
The way others speak, and the words they use, matters.
Behaviors in which the consent or well being of others are disregarded, in exchange for personal gain, matters.
Refusal to acknowledge that there's work to do inside of the self, matters.
We all long to belong. However, here are some group joining and maintenance tips from someone working on belonging more and more in bigger and better ways:
1. Take your time to observe and learn about the groups and individuals that you are considering spending time with.
2. Don't invest all of your being into a new group, without doing your part to be aware of what you might perpetuate, simply by being a part of it.
3. Contribute your time, presence, and intentions, with mindfulness and discernment.
4. Inform others when you witness/become aware of acts and beings, which are perpetuating pain/abuse cycles, within their own groups or the groups of others.
5. While you cannot stop what's already happening/happened, you can offer data which others can use to make an informed decision in the future.
Groups matter? Yes. And so do you.
This is a blog about understanding Relationships within and around us through reflections in our community. Posts here will cover how organizations, groups, and individual people are modeling returning to compassion.