The Relationship Wrecker – Fitting in

Feeling a sense of belonging is a huge part of a fulfilled life. It’s also hugely underestimated. However, feeling belonging is not about fitting in, far from it. To truly connect with people and feel a sense of belonging, we must feel accepted for who we are first.

Connections

Opening up to another person and releasing our barriers is what bonds are made of. Think of your closest friendship or relationship and it is littered with vulnerable moments. Close friendships are very rarely plain sailing. You will have come through things together or supported each other at difficult times. There is one person at least who you feel really knows you. Who would know how you might react in any given situation, who has seen you at your best and possibly your worst and still loves you for who you are. These kinds of connections are what life is all about. These are the relationships that enrich our lives beyond measure and these are the relationships we should be prioritising.

Fitting in Belonging

Imagine now for a second those early days of this particular close relationship and imagine if you had held back certain aspects of your personality or character. Or they did. Do you think you would have the kind of connection you have now? Maybe you would and it just would have taken a longer time to get there, but maybe the opportunity would have passed you by.

In fact, I know in my marriage some of those early days of getting to know each other are still fondly referenced to in long running insider jokes we have with each other.

Superficial Friendships Serve Nobody

The magic of meeting someone and hitting it off immediately is fabulous, but rare. Most relationships, whether intimate or platonic need a certain element of work. Some of my best friendships have occurred with people who either I didn’t like when I first met or who didn’t like me!

Trying with a person is different to trying to fit in. When we try to fit in somewhere it is because we are feeling uncomfortable in ourselves. And once we present an altered version of ourselves to someone firstly it is a difficult barrier to drop later on, but most importantly, it prevents anyone else from getting to know the real us. This can equate to having quite a few superficial relationships and not so many real life enriching amazing connections.

We need to feel accepted in order to form true connections and those connections will lead to a sense of belonging. Don’t try to fit in with someone else’s idea of how you should be. There’s only one you and there’s a really good reason for that.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

Our Wagamama Mama Club

I have this group of friends, and we kind of bonded over Wagamama. We’re four busy mums and we get together once every couple of months for a night out and a good old chin wag. And we always go to Wagamama. The food is quick, healthy, and tasty and we all have our favourites on the menu. We even have the Wagamama brand photo as our group What’s app picture. So I was thrilled when Wagamama gave me a voucher to take our little Wagamama Mama club (try saying that after a few g & t’s) on tour to see the cool new refurb at their Cardiff library restaurant. Trust me when I say, we don’t just discuss noodles.

Wagamama Cardiff

Refurbished Cardiff Library Wagamama

Wagamama chefs

Open kitchen

Mum Friends

We know each other from church, we’re all mums and we have a good laugh together. Our meet-ups have become a bit of a lifeline to me in fact and a highlight in my calendar. A safe space where no topic is off limits and when we have no advice or experience to share, we just listen to one another, and that is enough. There’s something special in that and I have come to really respect each one of these three special friends. They really are each amazing women in their own right and we’ve all been through our ups and downs this past year. I don’t see all of them from week to week but that just means we always have a lot of news to share. And share we do, over a nice hot bowl of ramen and fresh greens and green tea to help it all go down.

Nothing ever leaves the table. What is said in Wagamama’s stays in Wagamama’s. And we laugh a lot too. I really have a laugh with these girls, like a proper scream. Our meets are a real pick me up for me and I always feel uplifted when I get home. Without anything ever being said aloud, the Wagamama club dates have been protected in our house. Once they’re in the diary they are not messed with and I think Rich realised before me how important these catch-ups are for me. Just to get out of the house child free and let off some steam with friends who understand you is vital.

Wagamama friendsWagamama food

Wagamama restaurant

Allergies in Mind

We began meeting up for our consecutive birthdays in May, June, July and August, that was our summer meet ups sorted and we carried on from there. I fell in love with Wagamama because their allergy information on their website is brilliant which helped me loads when my baby was diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy. I found I had more choice of the menu at Wagamama than anywhere else. I know they’ve really upped the ante with their vegan menu for 2018 too. Moreover, the food is always really fresh. It’s prepared right when you order and brought to the table as soon as it’s ready (no wilted greens from sitting under a heat lamp-winner) and there is masses of it. We all have our favourites on the menu now we’ve been going so much. The desserts are absolutely lush too and not things you get elsewhere, like banana katsu (lightly breaded deep fried banana with salted caramel ice cream-yum). The service at Cardiff was brilliant, leaving us to get on with our chin wagging without having to bat an eye about the food and just enjoy our time out.

I noticed a little sign that said Wagamama would donate 25p to mental health charity Mind for every positive drink bought (a fruit smoothie with spinach and pineapple, it’s so lush) which I thought was great.

Wagamama dessertWagamama menu

Wagamama’s watchword is kaizen which is a Japanese word meaning ‘good change’. Each of us has definitely been through a lot of change in the last year that’s for sure. A lot of good and a fair dollop of sad change too but no matter what has been going on we still get together to tell, laugh, and listen, and I’m really grateful for our little Wagamama mama group.

friendships

With thanks to Wagamama for giving me a voucher for their Cardiff library restaurant. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like this one about Feeling Connected.

 

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