Fitting in and belonging – what’s the difference?

Photo by Eva Elijas on


I just read a quote and thought about it. I want to share the following question with you:

What do you think is the difference between fitting in and belonging?

The researcher Brene Brown describes it like this:

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging.

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. 

Belonging on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” 

(Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and 
Embrace Who You Are - Center City,MN: Hazelden, 2010),25.

What a great thought! That is very true. I am thinking of past situations where I fitted in and where I belonged.

What a blessing if we are in a surrounding where we belong.

??? Which situations do you have in mind, where you fit in or where you belong???

I would love to hear from you!


7 Replies to “Fitting in and belonging – what’s the difference?”

  1. Good way to express the difference of belonging and being accepted. It was helpful to think about when I am being which.

  2. You bring up such interesting concepts and questions Tabea!
    We moved from the city to the country when I was 12. I was introduced to a friend’s daughter from my new school, but I wasn’t completely comfortable with her group of friends. They were all lovely, but I was different to them. I had to be very aware of myself so that I could fit in. Over time I discovered other friends with similar interests and personalities who I could just ‘be’ with, and I am still very good friends with one of those girls today.
    I remember being very aware of the difference and how relieved I felt not to have to constantly ‘assess the situation’ to know how to ‘be’.
    I think fitting in can be fun. But belonging and simply being able to be yourself whilst feeling safe, supported and inspired, is wonderful.
    Thank you for helping me appreciate the difference again!

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