A few weekends ago, I heard Austin Mayor speak at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Scholarship Ceremony. (Side note: my Little Sis graduated and accepted her scholarship! Woohoo!) One of the things he said resonated deeply with me and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. (Spoiler alert: it’s the title.)
Big Brothers Big Sisters serves students who are in need of mentors to help them stay out of trouble and graduate high school. These students usually have financial disadvantages. In a room of students who have been promised scholarships when they graduate and students who would receive scholarships because they graduated, the mayor asked them to remember the phrase “You Belong Here.” You belong here – because you have worked hard and pushed through adversity. You belong here – despite all the factors, statistics, and haters that thought you didn’t.
I know how it feels to not belong, from not feeling like a true part of a community to not believing I deserved an accomplishment, but this reminder gives me confidence moving forward. I belong here because of my passions, my skills, and my ambition. I’m deserving of the things I strive for in life. I am not perfect and life might not go my way, but others can’t make me feel like I don’t belong.
For all the things that you legitimately strive for and achieve, don’t cower when you should stand tall and show that you belong here. Forget the comparison game and celebrate the ways you show up for your job, your passions, and your community. When you walk into a meeting, a work-out studio, or a networking event, remind yourself that you belong here. You showed up, you fought for it, you achieved it.
In the same breathe, what is the energy of your thoughts when you believe someone doesn’t belong here or he/she doesn’t deserve something he/she has earned or is striving for? Does it strengthen your belonging? Haters gonna hate. Don’t let yourself be a hater and don’t let the haters get you down.
You belong here because you’re human and you’re doing life the best you can.
You belong here because no one gets to decide your life except for you.
You belong here because you are loved, appreciated and respected.
You belong here because you’ve learned from your past and will empower your future.
You belong here because you have so much to give to the world.
What fears do you have? How would they change if you believed that you belong here?
What words of encouragement would you add?
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