She talks about how the pain of loneliness, anxiety and uncertainty can undermine efforts to be with a group and be engaged.
But we shouldn't lose ourselves in order to fit in, and we also need to understand where other people are. Even those we have been taught to hate as a group. It is hard to hate someone close up one on one.
True belonging is the practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in standing alone . . . it doesn't require you to change who you are. . . stop looking for confirmation that you don't belong and believe that you do.
True belonging, real connection and real empathy require meeting real people in real space in real time. In-person interactions have been proven to bolster our immune system.
8th graders define belonging as being accepted for you - fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.