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By Penelope Young Andrade

October 9, 2010 (San Diego) -- Are you longing to belong? Most likely, consciously or sub consciously, the answer is yes. As a human your need to belong is hard wired.


Orphaned babies die when that need is not met. Adults in gangs kill to meet that need. In normal life, this primordial need for belonging is sometimes in conflict with another equally strong need—self expression. Whenever you have to hold back true feelings to maintain bonds, you can’t relax into the safety belonging provides. Being authentic is a prerequisite for healthy belonging.


Here’s the tip. First check whether you’re allowing yourself full expression and self compassion inside your own head and heart. You’ll need an inner base of solid self acceptance to risk being authentic. Get help if necessary to work through any fear or self judgment about who you are.


Next, practice speaking up just a little bit in important relationships where you’ve been hiding responses. Take it slow. Let loved ones know this is hard for you. Avoid blame. Notice what happens. If you’re welcomed and accepted, you’re on your way. If you’re shamed or shunned (and you’re clear you weren’t dumping anger), you may need to look elsewhere for people who can joyously appreciate the real you. Don’t give up. Don’t Settle. Keep searching for people outside yourself who love you as much as you love yourself. They’re there. You can find them and enjoy the bliss of true belonging.

Penelope Young Andrade LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist with over 35 years experience integrating the best of traditional and alternative approaches for bodymind transformation. 858-481-5752

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