Thinking back to my childhood, it felt a bit nomadic. My father was in the military, and we moved quite often, never staying in one place long enough to build deep friendships. I was quiet and shy growing up, I didn’t let people in, and I always had my guard up. Why open my heart for friendships to only have it broken when it came time to move again.
Finally, in the last quarter of my senior year in high school, we laid down roots in California. It took a couple of years to settle in before I started to feel the pangs of loneliness. I didn’t have any friends with shared experiences that went back more than a couple of years.
So I spent my 20s trying to find my people, my tribe. I so badly wanted to fit in, so I stayed in the box of other people's expectations. The only people I felt comfortable being around were my family, and even they thought of me as odd and quirky. It wasn’t until my 30s that I started to feel the stirrings of my inner journey and eventually, I found my tribe, or at least thought I had.
We had the same interests, and I even felt supported, but I started to think that my entry into the group was conditional. If I wasn’t striving towards the same goal in the same manner, I was not truly part of the group.
So, I packed up my proverbial bags, and I continued my search, but I kept experiencing the same scenario - people accepted me but only as long as I fit into their box.
It took me some time to figure it out, but a tribe isn’t something you join and certainly not one where you try to fit in. Rather, it is something you allow and create. You choose the people you want around you. I also discovered a tribe isn’t necessarily made up of people who will be your besties for life. The tribe may only be temporary. Some may turn out to be amazing friends while others drift away, continuing on their life journey.
When I finally found my first true tribe, I felt the human connection, and I understood what it meant to have a meaningful and supportive relationship with another individual. I felt the welcoming support and acceptance for showing up as I am.
At the time, I felt lost, untrusting of myself and others, but I wore masks to cover it up. Those beautiful souls became a mirror for me, showing me my worth until I felt it. They helped me let go of the fear as the masks fell off, and more of the real me started to peer through. It was the first time in my life that I felt safe to be me and vulnerable without judgment. They witnessed me as I transformed my trauma into wisdom.
As this was for me, it was for everyone else in the group. Eventually, we all had to continue on our own journeys, and although we may not be together, I still deeply love this tribe.
Finding my first true tribe was a decade's long journey, probably because I had a lot of lessons to learn. But trying to find YOUR tribe does not need to take that long.
The first and most important thing to remember is you do not need to try to fit in. You are perfect as you are. Instead, call in your tribe of like-minded people.
What lights you up? When I started as a Reiki practitioner, I called in my tribe by attending Reiki clinics and volunteering at Reiki events.
Be discerning with who you choose to let in. Ask yourself, Does this person bring value to your life? How do these people make you feel? Do they fill your heart with love and joy? Do you feel safe to be vulnerable around them? Can you hold space for them when they need to be vulnerable?
Nurture your tribe and regularly come together, not just for the vital touchstones but for the shared experiences. There are opportunities for healing and holding space when we gather with our tribe.
What unites a tribe is stronger than the individual differences, and it is in the sharing of stories and experiences where the magic really happens.
Be Radiant, Be True, and Be YOU!!