Oh my gosh, it hurts just to write that word.
So, yesterday I discovered a powerful reframe of my “I don’t belong” belief: “I’m the missing ingredient.” I’m what’s missing. If I took that on, I’d literally approach every aspect of my life differently (and from a 100% responsible place–odd how it all weaves together).
Bur then I hear Belanie in my head. You can try to choose differently, Kyla, but you won’t be able to. “I don’t belong,” my lifetime narrative, is most definitely a core belief of mine. It starts with my family. I believe I don’t belong in my own family, and I’ve held that belief since I was a little girl.
The problem is, I have no qualms about saying “I don’t belong.” I can totally own and accept that.
And that’s not good. That means I need to go deeper to find the core belief.
According to Belanie, a core belief is something you do NOT want to be, and cannot accept that you are. The very word brings up raw emotions, and pain. It calls back memories you’ve buried. A core belief is also something you’ve spent your life proving you’re NOT.
“I don’t belong” doesn’t quite fit all of that. I’m willing to not belong. So, Belanie would say I’ve got to go deeper and ask, well, what sort of person doesn’t belong?
I feel the emotion coming up now as I think of the answer.
A person who doesn’t belong is unwanted.
Now my brain has cleverly flipped this in many situations. You don’t belong, but it’s because you’re special. You’re unique. You’re better (yikes).
But, all of that is covering up the painful truth: I am unwanted.
And I REALLY don’t want to be that. For an unwanted person, there’s no “being enough.” Being enough is irrelevant; you’re simply not wanted. You could be amazing, above average, off the charts, and it wouldn’t fix it–because you’re just not wanted, however you come. An unwanted person will be left by everyone in their life.
Have I spent my life proving I am wanted? I’d say that fits. I compulsively did good in school, I read books my father read (books were all he cared about growing up), I deferred to my sister and mother constantly (maybe one day they’d want me).
Then I grew up. And blossomed. I realized if I worked on my physical appearance, that made me seem wanted. I also realized something that would save me for a while.
Men want me.
So suddenly a girl who previously never had a prayer of a boyfriend always had a man around her. Always.
Of course, I still didn’t believe men ACTUALLY wanted me. But I was going to collect as much evidence as I could, and they were willing participants in the exercise. Before meeting my ex-husband, I dated like crazy. There was an abundance of young military men in Hawaii, so it was easy. I dated several people at once. Then I met Rob, and he wanted me in this romantic movie over-the-top kind of way. Upon meeting me, I instantly became his world.
So, I married him. Maybe this man could want me enough, and finally make the pain of that pesky belief go away.
Of course, that was impossible. He could never want me enough. There could never be enough evidence.
When we fell apart, I was devastated–beyond repair. Because my core belief of “unwanted” flared up like you wouldn’t believe. Rob and I had many issues, but, we were also best friends. I was silly around him, goofy, dorky, authentic.
And what happened? My worst fear. He woke up one day and thought: “I don’t want her anymore.”
And, honestly, that marriage was toxic, and abusive. But I couldn’t leave–because he wanted me. As long as he did, I had to stay. Until he didn’t anymore.
After Rob, if you ask me, I’d say I was alone a while. But no, not really. There was always someone.
When I finally got into a relationship and my ex-boyfriend dumped me (on a horrible night when I really hurt his feelings), my core filter flared up again.
Shortly after I was in DC for three days for a conference my firm sent me to. I didn’t go. I stayed in my hotel and cried, hard. On the last day, I walked to the Lincoln Memorial–and cried there too.
And then? Date-a-thon 2013. I set out again to prove I was wanted. 4-5 dates per week, two in one day, and oh I’ll hit up that old friend for casual sex to finish out the night. I’d collect second dates and third dates, then dropped them. See, I wanted to prove I was wanted, not actually have a relationship.
So I wasn’t present for any of these men. They were simply a tool. Messed up, right?
Then there was Basic and Advanced — and they really helped in so many ways — but my core filter was, and is, still there. If Belanie is right, it forever will be.
So what happened with Jimbo?
Well, over time, he convinced me that he wanted me–for keeps, and for real. That made me feel safe with him (among many other things, but for this post, I’m focusing on this one thing).
Now this doesn’t mean our relationship is not authentic, or that I don’t truly love him. I do, and I loved my ex, too. But, with this belief, things can get dangerous. His job is to make me feel wanted? He can’t! He’ll never be able to want me enough.
This is where Belanie would ask: “Okay, now that you realize that, are you willing to be unwanted?”
I don’t think so. Not really. I can say the words, but I don’t think I’ll mean them. But as long as I can’t accept this about myself, I’m going to have a hell of a time shifting out of “I don’t belong.”
So, let’s give it a go.
My name is Kyla. What I want you to know about me is: I am unwanted — because I said so (and so what?).