Fitting in is not belonging: Fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. “Fitting in” often means assessing situations and groups of people, and then twisting yourself into different people to get them to like you. You become a social chameleon (which can have it’s benefits i.e., in business). Belonging is something else entirely. It’s showing up and letting your authentic self loose, which starts with self-acceptance. Accepting yourself gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable, and flawed.

Guilt is not bad for you: Guilt is good because it helps us stay on track with our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done or failed to do with our values and morals. The discomfort this comparison creates motivates change, self-reflection, and, hopefully, self-improvement. Guilt can make us feel more positively about ourselves because it emphasizes the gap between who we are and what we did, and we can change what we do to match our higher selves.

Vulnerability is an act of courage: Vulnerability is not a weakness; it is the most accurate measure of our individual courage. To lay it all out on the table, for yourself or others, is incredibly brave. Being vulnerable creates a connection between people. The key to transforming your painful, terrifying parts into courage is learning how to recognize them, feel them, and ultimately choose to keep living with them.