Two weeks ago, I went to the Scottish Highlands. Our guide Martine was a Scottish born woman whose captivating accent and warm demeanor provided the perfect backdrop for the journey.
As we careened through the windy roads, she told stories of the Highlands, the epic clan wars and how the movie Braveheart, while certainly entertaining, changed more than a few historical events.
Everywhere I looked, I was enveloped by deep greenery. The land had an intoxicating effect. I was at a loss for words. I felt relaxed and as if I was floating.
I didn't want to blink - I thought I might miss something.
As I digested the scenery, Martine elaborated on the characteristics of the Scottish people:
"A Scottish man will tell you he loves you by simply nodding his head. He doesn't have to use his words. He's loyal and reserved."
Touched by her words, I thought of my strong, stoic Scottish grandparents. And the way my uncle jokingly proclaimed at my cousin's wedding, "We're Scottish. We don't hug."
"Yes, the Scottish are fiercely loyal and reserved, but once you get them talking and into their hearts...you discover a deep well of emotions."
As I sat in the passenger seat, her words washed over me. I thought of how I prefer quiet to chatter and while I'm not always effusive, I love fully.
I oftentimes feel like this part of me is misunderstood....like my exterior doesn't always match my intentions and heart.
She turned to her left, appraising my energy and said, "Yep, you're Scottish."
My defenses melted. I didn't have to explain who I was. I felt like myself and I felt like I belonged.
Healing occurs when the very things that we think make us WEIRD or different are reflected back to us with unbridled ACCEPTANCE.
I'm not "different" or "lacking."
I am who I am and I felt like in that moment, I belonged.
It's easy to build up narratives of the ways we're "different" or not good enough.
But when you do the things that bring you joy and hang out with the people who truly *see* you...you feel worthy.
Feeling worthy and accepted isn't some self-help/personal growth catch phrase. When you feel like you can be yourself, connections and relationships deepen.
You may risk certain people not liking you, but you'll attract and grow with the people who do.
After my trip to Scotland, I feel a lot more relaxed about who I am. Who knew that a trip across the pond and a tour of the Highlands would give me permission to be more accepting of myself?
And you don't have to go to Scotland or another country to feel accepted and understood.
People and places carry energy. Find what resonates. Seek out the people who get you. But most importantly, let yourself be seen and vulnerable.
Sometimes we just need people to reflect back that we're perfectly normal - beautiful even - being exactly who we are.
Now I want to hear YOUR perspective. How do you connect with people who get you? Is there a PLACE you go where you feel more like yourself? The beach, mountains, your hometown? Write in the comments below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you!