When remarried couples have children from a previous marriage, they are highly likely to face the huge and shocking impact of what are called Insider/Outsider forces.

These Insider/Outsider forces tend to shift the members of the couple into vastly different positions.

The outsider [the stepparent] is struggling to enter the family system and make some changes of her own.

The insider [the biological parent] shares a deep, strong bond with his children, who are often highly resistant to the newcomer.

So the outsider is struggling to become a real member of the family and feeling left out in the cold.

You can try as hard as you want to belong, to feel like an insider, but ultimately belonging starts with belonging to yourself.

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance.

This is true in family relationships, at the workplace, as a 1st year student at university, being new to a place etc.

Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you are enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

As Brené Brown so eloquently puts it:

“When we work from a place, I believe, that says ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

We should always seek to belong, instead of fitting in. To belong to ourselves first and foremost.

If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.

Strive to be you.

Belong to you.

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