By Lissa Rankin MD
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Like so many others who struggle to find their tribe, I spent much of my life tiptoeing around my desire to find a group of people among whom I could be unconditionally loved and accepted, while staying in alignment with my true nature. Although I had my share of friends, most of them weren’t friends with each other, and I never had that group of people I could call and ask “What are we doing tonight?”
I was always too nerdy for the jocks and cheerleaders, too cool for the nerds, too uncool for the popular kids, too goodie-two-shoes for the stoners, not goodie-two-shoes enough for the church kids, too liberal for the preppies, too conservative for the Deadheads… You get the picture.
I tried to find my tribe, but no matter what I tried, I always felt like the odd duck swimming with swans, who all seemed to enjoy a sense of belonging I never quite felt.
Then my spiritual counselor pointed out that my ego had created this separation story that distanced me from the very belonging I craved. (You can read the nitty gritty details about my separation story here.) Since gulping down the uncomfortable truth of this guidance, everything started to shift for me, and finally, I am finding my tribe.
Among these beautiful people who love and accept me just as I am, I find myself becoming increasingly brave. I show them parts of myself I’ve previously hidden, and not only are they not rejecting me – they’re telling me they love me even more because I’m willing to be imperfect amidst so much pressure to be perfect. My confessions of imperfection come with an added bonus. When I’m brave enough to show people my big ugly tail, they tend to do the same. And as Brene Brown tells us in her fabulous TEDx talk The Power of Vulnerability, this breeds intimacy and fosters a sense of belonging, which fans the flames of my Inner Pilot Light.
Tips For Attracting Your Tribe
I know I’m not alone in my desire to be part of a tribe, so if you’re jonesing to find yours, let me share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- Be mindful in your intention-setting. When you’re ready to find your tribe, put it out there! Set clear intentions. Ask the Universe to support your desire. Try creating a home altar and fill it with sacred objects meant to call in your tribe. Burn incense. Bang a drum. Release old, limiting beliefs by writing them on slips of paper and burning them or by imbuing stones with self-sabotaging beliefs and tossing them in the ocean, a river, a lake, or over your balcony.
- You’re special but you’re not special. Sometimes we let our sense of being “different” or “special” get in the way of belonging. Understand that each of us is unique and individual, but we’re also much more alike than it may appear on the surface when we wear masks and lack the courage to be uncool. Don’t let your ego’s separation story keep you from belonging. Underneath our egos is a matrix of Universal energy that unites us all. We all hold within us sparks of divinity, and when we tap into the Oneness, the illusion of separateness dissolves and we’re left with what we most crave – intimate connection soul-to-soul.
- Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Take an art class. Join a women’s or men’s group. Sign up for a workshop. Find a spiritual community that feels authentic and lights you up. Engage in activities that ignite your soul.
- Ditch judgment. Someone from your tribe might be standing right next to you in the grocery store, but if you label her as “other” because you don’t like her hairstyle or her fashion sense or what she put in her shopping cart, you might walk right by the person who could have been your next BFF. Instead of judging someone, dare to smile and make eye contact. Look past the surface into the beauty and resonance of that person’s soul.
- Be discerning. While judgment and criticism erect barriers between you and your tribe, you also won’t jive with everyone you meet. This is where discernment comes in. Get clear on the kind of community you hope to attract. Be honest about your own needs and be willing to communicate them. Ask for what you desire and invite others to do the same. Set healthy boundaries but leave your heart open. The most important thing holding a tribe together is a sense of safety with our vulnerabilities.
- Call in your tribe. Don’t just sit around and wait for your people to find you. Put your desires out there on social media. Blog about your tribe, so people can tell if they long to be part of it. Be specific about what you long for. (If you’re starting a purple hair tribe, tell them! If only goddesses need apply, be honest. If your tribe includes Christian Republicans or Buddhist Democrats or atheist moondancers, name it.) You’ll be surprised how easy it can be if you’re brave enough to speak your truth unapologetically.
- Don’t be shy. Take action. When you meet people who light you up – the ones you hope will become part of your tribe – be brave enough to invite them to be part of your inner circle. Tell them how much you enjoy and admire them. Be unabashed about your affection and respect. Set a date to get together and connect with them. Start a women’s or men’s group, get together to mastermind your businesses, start an email thread or private Facebook group to connect you, plan a retreat together, or get creative in your own way!
Have You Found Your Tribe?
What about you? If you’ve found your people, where did you find them? What tips can you share for those who are still looking? If you haven’t found your tribe yet, tell us what you’re seeking. You never know who might be trolling around the comments on this blog, looking for someone just like you…
With love and gratitude,
Previous articles by Lissa
About the author
Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. She is on a grass roots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself. Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.