I just returned from the 35th reunion of my 8th grade graduating class. I know that might sound a little silly, but I bounced around to several high schools and then dropped out, so this is the only reunion I have.
Even so, I wasn’t close to the other students at this school. I did great academically, but I wasn’t popular and I didn’t fit in. It was painful, but that makes this story even more poignant.
This was a very exclusive, all-girls, private school. I attended on a scholarship because we were living at the poverty level at the time. They told my mom that I was bright and tested well, but that they were concerned about my social prospects because I was so different from the other girls at the school. My mom warned me, but I really wanted to go to this school.
So I went. And I wasn’t popular, nor did I have any solid, sustained friendships. I was so different from the other girls.
Then ten years ago, I got an invitation to the 25th reunion. And I hesitated. I wasn’t close with any of these people. But I listened to my recovery voice inside that told me to go, to be open and curious, and to learn about the other people there. I was nervous, but I went… and I had a blast. The other girls had grown up into gracious, kind, lovely women. And I finally felt like I belonged.
The conversations with those women gave me perspective. I told them I had felt like an outsider and a loner. Then one woman offered that those years had been hard for all of us. She said she had envied my athletic ability. Another remembered me as being smart. Some assumed I had myself together and just didn’t really need them as friends.
So, I went again this year for the 35th reunion. Afterward, four of us went to dinner. We stayed and talked for nearly five hours. And again, these weren’t people I was friends with back then. But we all belonged that night because we showed up. We became the “in crowd,” simply because we showed up and participated.
This got me thinking about how most adult spaces are places in which anyone who wants to belong can belong. It’s the people who show up and participate who become the “in crowd.” And people are welcoming to anyone who wants to be there.
In Bright Line Eating, the notion of belonging is so critical. We thrive when we belong. Social connectedness matters so much to our well-being. And that’s what we see in BLE. It’s the people who belong who do better, those who stick and stay and thrive.
Belonging matters, and it’s a matter of choice. You choose to belong … and you belong.