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The Distinction Between Belonging and Fitting In—Why Do We Care?

Services for Real Estate Pros Retired

"Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need 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."― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection.

We declare that real estate is a relationship business, and we crave to be seen as part of a larger group. For many less-experienced agents, it seems the only way to make it in this business is by fitting in and becoming part of the "in-crowd."

But what if there's another way? What if we focus on belonging instead of trying to fit in?

We often think of belonging as "fitting in," but Belonging has much more to do with being who you are than it does with trying to please others

What Is Fitting In?

Changing yourself is what fitting in is about. It means playing by the rules of conformity and downplaying any unique aspects of your personality or beliefs so that you can blend in or feel accepted. Fitting in is about making yourself small so that others won't notice how different you are—even if deep down inside, you know there's nothing wrong with standing out!

"After years of trying to fit in, I realized that blending in would not get me ahead. As a project manager and marketing professional in the hi-tech manufacturing industry—a profession predominantly held by men and for much of my corporate career, I felt like a square peg in the world of big business—so determined to fit in. But instead of conforming every time there were differences, I've learned how important it is for everyone involved, including me, to stand up for what we believe in making progress—and striving for success.

Refusing to be thwarted by the opposition, I pursued my ambitions boldly. Such actions caused some ruffles amongst colleagues and higher-ups alike- today's successes show that such determination was worthwhile!—Aura Alex."

What Is Belonging?

Belonging means feeling like we are part of something larger than ourselves, and it could be a community, an organization, or a cause we believe in. It is about understanding our place within something larger and feeling brave enough to stand up for what we believe in, even though it might differ from what others in our group believe.

Dr. Brené Brown defines belonging as "being part of something bigger but also having the courage to stand alone and to belong to yourself above all else." This definition implies that Belonging does not mean blending into the status quo; instead, it means being accepted for who you are and allowing yourself space. Connecting with people who share your values and ideals isn't just about those with the same aesthetic.

Why Do We Care?

Belonging allows us to be true to ourselves while connecting with others on an authentic level. We don't have to hide behind masks or pretend to be someone we're not; instead, we can embrace our differences and find a place where we feel accepted for who we are.

Fitting in only makes us feel isolated and disconnected from those around us because it forces us into uncomfortable situations where we're not genuine about our true selves. Furthermore, when we fit in, it becomes harder for us to speak up for what matters most because we fear ridicule from those around us who might disagree with our beliefs.

Belonging is far more beneficial than fitting in because it allows us to stay true to ourselves while connecting with others on a deeper level. We don't have to compromise who we are to find acceptance; instead, we can embrace our uniqueness and find comfort among those who appreciate what makes us different without disparaging others!

Being true to yourself isn't always easy, but it's essential to find a sense of belonging anywhere!

This post was inspired by Ray Henson, who commented on my last post on the January Challenge: Marketing Tips. Thank you for the inspiration, Ray. - Aura

Posted by

I have wandered from a vibrant corner of the world, Thailand, to the bustling city of Boston. And again, to the tranquil beauty of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. 

I have found my place!

After a fulfilling career spanning 16 years in the corporate world and 22 years in real estate, I have entered a new chapter of life---retirement. As a proud grandmother, I cherish every moment with my precious family. In the remaining hours, I am ready to pursue my lifelong passion for writing!

I invite you to follow my new journey via my heart and soul into a book brimming with uplifting tales, ready to inspire anyone who seeks a glimpse of true inspiration.

Aura Alex


Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Aura. You summed it up very well:

Being true to yourself isn't always easy, but it's essential to find a sense of belonging anywhere!

Enjoy your day.

Feb 07, 2023 04:05 AM
Aura Alex

Thank you for your read and comment, Wayne Martin. Yes, being true to yourself isn't always easy, but it's essential...You are living proof, sir!

Feb 07, 2023 09:28 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

It's an important distinction to make- I think if we are true to ourselves we will find where we belong in the bigger picture. If we are changing ourselves to fit in, we'll never belong TO ourselves!

Feb 07, 2023 04:50 AM
Aura Alex

Kat Palmiotti 

So true; when you fit in, you belong to someone else. We don't need to negotiate who we are when we're willing to stand alone. Let the Law of Attraction takes you where you belong!

Feb 07, 2023 09:34 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Aura - is it a feeling of fitting in or the power of standing out?

Feb 07, 2023 05:05 AM
Aura Alex

Michael Jacobs 

My view on your comment is this: Are you a sheep or a shepherd when it comes to fitting in?

We often sacrifice our values, intentions, and beliefs for fleeting false power. To me, that's not standing out - but merely bullying from an insecure place of fear.

So if true greatness is what we seek, why must conformity be sought so much? It seems better to stand alone than take part in destructive ideologies.

Trying to blend in with the crowd can be tempting, but it's important not to forget the power of being yourself. True strength comes from courage and authenticity—never by instilling hatred and fear and disparaging others.

Ultimately we all have something special inside us: what better way is there than allowing ourselves—and others—the chance to stand out?

Feb 07, 2023 09:52 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I always worked to the best of my abilities and seldom was concerned with trying to be like the rest. Fitting in doesn't always work but working hard and being attentive will allow us to belong just fine.

Feb 07, 2023 05:14 AM
Aura Alex

Ditto! Ed Silva 

Letting your light shine and showing up as the best version of yourself sends a powerful current that connects you with other like-minded people.

Feb 07, 2023 10:02 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Aura... a thought-provoking post for sure. And now I understand why I've never totally fit in anywhere. I've always danced to the tune of my own drummer.

Feb 07, 2023 05:47 AM
Aura Alex

Nina Hollander, Broker 

I ditto on your thought. I never could quite seem to conform. My passions and dreams have always been uniquely my own, allowing me to move through life with an independent beat!

Feb 07, 2023 10:08 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

 Happy Taco Tuesday, make it a great day and sell a house. Bill 

Feb 07, 2023 05:47 AM
Aura Alex

Ah..a Taco Day, indeed. Enjoy your day, Bill Salvatore - East Valley.

Feb 07, 2023 10:10 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Aura,

Loved how you expanded on the difference of belonging or fitting in. It is a good distinction that should be made. I think it's wonderful you were inspired by a comment on a post from Ray Henson.

Feb 07, 2023 07:00 AM
Aura Alex

Dorie Dillard Austin TX 

Ray Henson's words were like lightning, awakening memories of my corporate days when I fought to get ahead by sacrificing who I was. 

As hard as I tried, it seemed like there would never be a place where my unique self could comfortably belong until now.

Feb 07, 2023 10:19 AM
Ray Henson

I do not think I would ever quite fit in in a corporate environment.  It is hard to know, though, because I have never been in one.  I am glad to here that you are comfortable now!

Feb 08, 2023 01:54 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Top of the morning Aura.  Excellent post.  Many times takes courage to be yourself.  Those are the times we show our character.  mdm

Feb 07, 2023 09:16 AM
Aura Alex

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho 

It does take courage to be ourselves.

I'm a bit of an outsider--not belonging to any particular group, instead listening only to the music inside my own head.

Feb 07, 2023 10:23 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning again Aura. I have just featured your post on Bananatudes. Congrats!

Feb 07, 2023 10:03 AM
Aura Alex

You have made my day, Wayne Martin. Thank you for the honor of being featured in your famous group. I appreciate it very much!

Feb 07, 2023 10:27 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I am glad to have inspired you, but you have gone far past anything that I am capable of.  You have a lot more layers than I do, much like Shrek. 😉

I enjoy ever post you right!

Feb 08, 2023 02:00 PM
Aura Alex

I'm also a lot older than you, Ray Henson. Perhaps closer to "senile" than most AR members. LOL! 🙃

Feb 08, 2023 05:21 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

You have made some profound suggestions with this post, Aura.  And, I agree with you 100%.  I think it is important to develop a strong sense of self.  It helps with the realm of belonging and fitting in.  I also believe before folks marry, they should spend time living alone, and getting to really being comfortable with themselves.

Feb 08, 2023 05:21 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Aura, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Feb 08, 2023 05:22 PM
Aura Alex
Seattle, WA
Retired Real Estate Pro

Myrl Jeffcoat 

First, thank YOU so much for the feature. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. 

I agree with you that folks need to understand being alone before marriage.

Despite the common notion that marriage is a blissful union, many couples find themselves feeling lonelier than ever when together. It's truly fascinating to explore how relationships can blur the line between companionship and isolation.

Feb 08, 2023 06:49 PM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Such an interesting discussion Aura.  Ideally, a feeling of belonging is a truly wonderful thing, which can be challenging to find for those of us who march to the beat of a different drum.    I like and admire those who are genuinely unique and have the courage to stand alone.  

Feb 09, 2023 09:28 AM
Aura Alex

Brian L. Sirota, Esq. 

When you find yourself standing solitarily, peer inwards and recognize that wilderness isn't something to fear. Recognize instead that the wilderness resides within; an unexplored world of possibility just waiting for your discovery!

Another way to say this is that we must recognize that we're never truly without support: through ourselves and wilderness at its finest, we are connected to something greater than us all.

Feb 09, 2023 06:42 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Aura,
Brene Brown is one of my favorites. She makes an important distinction. There have been many times I've needed to fit in. I prefer to seek out where I belong.

Feb 10, 2023 01:08 PM
Aura Alex

Carol Williams 

Brene Brown was the one who illuminated a powerful truth: belonging doesn't mean fitting in.

Maya Angelou put it best when she declared, "I belong to ME!" It's an idea that encourages us all to strive for self-ownership and find our own unique place within this world.

Feb 10, 2023 02:04 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Aura congratulations on your Featured Post on Bannanatudes, had to smile of you post and interaction with the commenters...  specifically, your back and forth with Michael Jacobs Endre

Feb 10, 2023 10:42 PM
Aura Alex

Thank you, Endre Barath, Jr., for being here. I hope you're enjoying your Superbowl weekend. 

Feb 11, 2023 09:43 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Aura, for sharing your experience and advice.

Have a productive February.

Feb 15, 2023 08:53 AM
Aura Alex

Thank you, Roy Kelley for the reblog. I am spending more time now on FB. So good to see you there too.

Feb 15, 2023 06:01 PM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

This is really a great post on belonging versus fitting in .

As a kid, you want to be liked: to fit in.

As an adult, uniqueness is something I want to see in others. I want to see the person for who they really are, not who they are trying to be.

Feb 21, 2023 05:00 AM
Aura Alex

You're spot on, faye schubert. I admit I did my fair share of trying to fit in, which didn't work. Now, I know what to do.

Thank you for your comment.

Feb 21, 2023 11:58 AM