The desire for connection is a fundamental one. At the heart of our human existence pulses the ever-present need for love and belonging. And yet? Despite our deep desire to feel accepted and valued, many of us still refuse to allow ourselves to be truly seen.

At a young age, we are taught to forsake the deeper, truer parts of ourselves for the singular purpose of “fitting in.” We learn how to to please. How to shape shift. How to hide, deny or omit whatever parts of our truth happen to feel unpopular in any given moment.

We become so skilled at assessing the needs of the people around us, we seamlessly (and often unconsciously) twist ourselves into whatever shape the current situation demands. We abandon who we are. We conceal our inner ferret-loving, Klingon-speaking clogging enthusiast— projecting only the pieces of our truth we feel could ever be truly accepted or understood. We become whoever the world wants us to be.

And we still feel lonelier than ever.

That’s because “fitting in” is different than belonging. And true acceptance requires us to show up. Clogs and all. To meet each other in those dark and scary places that leave us feeling the most exposed and vulnerable and unlovable. To plant ourselves so firmly in that sacred place that we can’t help but grow toward each other.

Because as it turns out?

Somewhere, deep in the bones of our darkest truth, someone is waiting for us. Someone who knows who we are, because it’s who they are, too. Someone who’s been there all along, ready and wanting to whisper the very words we never knew we’ve always needed to hear: “Me too.”