Why You Should Stop Trying To Find Your Tribe
So you’re looking for your Tribe, huh? Your people. The place where you can feel safe. The community who just gets you.
I was there once, too, and I found mine. My “community.” The place where I found purpose and the people who I could look up to. We were on a very special mission. It was one others thought they were doing too, but we were different.
We were changing the world.
Ok so, the community I became a part of turned out to be a cult. And I know what you’re thinking, “Michelle, I’m too smart to be tricked into a cult.” Ok, maybe you are. But, cults happen to good people. To people like you (and me, obviously). People who have big hearts and want to devote their lives to something meaningful.
They especially happen to people who don’t know themselves and who don’t love themselves. I know because I was one of them.
But I’m not really here to warn you about cults or tell you to leave your tribe of BFFs. I think communities are great. I’m part of some. They are natural and beautiful. They happen when we come together to philosophize, to move our bodies, to connect about things we feel are important.
For the past several years phrases like “Find Your Tribe” have grown to become commonplace in our lexicon. Many of us are seeking out a group of people who make us feel like home. A place where we can be ourselves, see and be seen, grow and connect.
So why are so many of us so desperately trying to find our tribe, and often to no avail? It seems like a new epidemic. No one feels like they belong anywhere. To me, the problem is quite clear:
It’s not about finding the right tribe. It’s about finding yourself.
Many of us are seeking tribes not to be connected, but because we feel a lack of connection. We can go to events, parties, and retreats, places we hope we can find ourselves finally frolicking freely, but leave each time saying, “I just didn’t feel like they were, ya know, my people.”
We’re not really looking for other people. We’re looking for ourselves. We’re hoping that at some point we’ll go to some gathering and suddenly the chains of fear will unleash, and we’ll experience ourselves as we’ve never done before.
And it might happen. Really. You could have that experience. You could call them your tribe. You could stick to the idea that there is a group of people who just get you more than anyone else in the world.
But then…how are you when you’re journeying out there in life? Ya know, when you’re with your blood relatives, when you’re on Instagram, when you call Verizon to complain about being overcharged, and even when you’re in line at Trader Joe’s. How are you then?
Do you feel safe and unshackled or is that freedom only reserved for your tribe?
Again, don’t get me wrong, safe havens are incredibly important. They can allow us to heal. They can give us a first glimpse at what it feels like to be who we truly are. They can allow us the foundation to begin to move more deeply into uncovering ourselves.
My Breathwork community has been particularly healing for me. I have read poetry, voicing my greatest fears on a retreat. It felt incredibly empowering to be held in loving space by 45 practical strangers, to have people come up to me afterwards expressing their ability to relate to my pain.
Here’s the thing: I take my growth with me. I use my community as a support system, and continue to use that newfound power to share my voice out in the world where there is no one leading, where it’s not a “safe space” to share, where I could be judged harshly.
I don’t make up a story that with these people is the only place in the world where I can be me, and I don’t refuse to be me only on retreats and in workshops.
We have a tendency to measure up and asses where we fit in. I feel safe or I don’t feel safe. I am seen or not. I am liked or shunned. I am desired or invisible.
We are longing to be accepted for all of who we are, to become whole. The problem is that we’re looking out there.
Looking for your tribe is like tearing your house apart looking for your keys only to find out they’re in your hand.
The connection you’re really looking for is within yourself.
As you begin to experience what it means to really love yourself the need to find a tribe begins to dissipate. From this place you can be part of a community in a healthy way. A way that doesn’t require you to feel like you need to emulate the qualities of the majority. A way that doesn’t shun others so you feel safe. A way that allows you to be free and autonomous. A way that keeps you connected to everyone in the world.
When I tried to find a community I found a cult. When I began to find myself I also found community.
We feel disconnected because we don’t know ourselves. We reject in others the very qualities we reject in ourselves. We push them away so we don’t have to see that we embody those same traits, the very things we are hiding from.
We all need people in our lives who we feel a deep connection with, and we don’t find that everywhere. In my experience, however, the more I have risked being myself with people who I think won’t “get me” I find myself pleasantly surprised.
There are connections to be made everywhere. In the hunt for “our people,” we inherently create separation. We are saying we can only be safe in one place. We can only be loved by certain people. We have to hunt for our belonging.
The truth is that you belong right where you are. In your body. On this planet. Connected to everyone and everything.
Each attempt you make at trying to find your safety, purpose, and love outside yourself keeps you out of love and connection with yourself and the world around you.
So instead of spending so much energy trying to find your tribe, find yourself instead.