Bridging The Gap - Guest Blog by Candyce Edd

Guest Blog - Candyce Edd 

How do I understand who I am? And, how does this play into how I perceive and function in life and with people? 

My ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political views, etc., may (or may not) give you an idea of who I am. But ultimately, it isn’t my identity. At least, that’s what I’ve come to terms with. If anything, it seems that most of these “identifiers” bring more division among us rather than unity. If it brings integration, it’s usually unifying against another union, justified or not.

Toss these “identifiers” out the window and what it really comes down to is love and belonging…

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
Dr. Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

We’ve all felt unloved and as if we don’t fit in, let’s be honest. These can be and usually are polarizing experiences that tend to jade how we perceive ourselves. Instead of seeing yourself as loveable, you’re now unlovable, or at the very least you need to earn love. I’m inclined to believe that this is the usually the case when we grasp for specific “identifiers” that will satisfy our need to belong. This shift now morphs our perception of the world and people according to these so-called “identifiers,” and the division perpetuates.

Yet, what identifies and truly unifies us is that we are all worthy of love and belonging. If we are able to internalize this, it transforms our external view. Now we can have an outlook with deep compassion and an understanding of people and the choices they make, especially when they are hurtful and damaging decisions. It doesn’t excuse or validate these unhealthy choices, but it does bring insight into what their story may be. It creates a space for understanding, forgiveness and even reconciliation.

You will be less inclined to break off into divisions as you shift your identity under the scope of love and belonging when you do categorize your ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political views, etc. In fact, you could bridge the gaps of these divisions to bring understanding, forgiveness and even reconciliation.