The “I Don’t Belongs”

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Sunshine on my shoulders!


Oh, what a glorious day.  It’s been so cold and dreary here, but today, we were blessed with warm weather, lots of sun, and nearly zero clouds.  I couldn’t wait to grab my laptop and work on the porch this afternoon.


George Santayana once said, “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”  You know what? I am hopelessly in love with the spring.  Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I just can’t help it.  I’m a warm weather girl. 


Although I was tempted to sun-bathe until the sun disappeared behind the (bare) trees, I hauled my booty to prenatal yoga.  I really, really need to get back into the practice for my body.


As I mentioned last week, I’m a ‘re-rookie’ when it comes to yoga.  After practicing weekly for years, I fell out of habit over the summer but recently went to a vinyasa class. Vinyasa gave me some trouble – I felt like I didn’t really belong even though I modified the poses – and I was equally nervous to go to prenatal.  I never normally suffer from the “I don’t belongs” because I really believe that everyone does, in fact, belong, but that uncomfortable feeling has been really strong lately with yoga.  Either I feel like I don’t belong because of the poses or because everyone else seems to be friends.  Maybe it really just has something to do with how unfamiliar (not uncomfortable – just unfamiliar) I feel with my preggers body? 


But here’s a first – we went around the room and introduced ourselves prior to the start of class.  I have never had that happen in ‘regular’ yoga.  It was very nice and made me feel much more at ease… maybe I’ll make some new friends at class.  And the pose sequence in prenatal was much more well-suited to my body.  I will be back!


Pre-yoga salad (always a mistake – too filling!):


Really, really loving sunflower seed butter-stuffed dates lately.  Mmm.


How do you get over the “I don’t belongs”?  I just try to remind myself that it’s a common emotion and no one is playing as much attention to me as I think they are.  Getting over it is easier said than done!



  • Danielle January 25, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I started Crossfit last night and I am having a huge case of I Don’t Belong! I’m scared to go back but I have a month unlimited. It’s very intimidating with all those pro heavy lifters!

    • Nicole January 25, 2012, 8:52 pm

      I am with you Danielle. I started crossfit tonight- feel the same way.

      • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:04 pm

        I wish you guys lived in the same place and could be friends!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 25, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I think about how no one really IS paying attention… think about it. Do you notice every single person in the gym and think about them critically the way you think people are thinking of you? No. And neither are they!

  • Rebecca January 25, 2012, 8:54 pm

    I have a persistant feeling of the “I Don’t Belong”s when I swim laps. I’ve been doing it for years (even when my mom was pregnant with me, so the fact that you swim while pregnant makes me so so so happy!) and I STILL feel it. I don’t think it’s a body confidence thing or an ability thing but just a general feeling of displacement. I tend to feel that way in the weights section of the gym, too. I feel awkward and embarrassed easily, though, so I think I’m just going to have to force myself to get over it!

  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 25, 2012, 8:55 pm

    I worked out with someone yesterday doing something I had never done before. I was so nervous. It was incredibly intense and I’m 8 years younger than her. I killed it! I just figured I needed to step outside of my comfort zone and have fun. That’s my new way of doing things and I have found that I’m enjoying everything more!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb January 25, 2012, 8:57 pm

    mmmm those stuffed dates look delicious!

    i’m like you and just try to remember no one is even close to aware of my insecurity as me!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 25, 2012, 9:03 pm

    For me, the best way is trying to connect with other people, or just keep on going until I do feel comfortable! It’s hard though!

  • Jackie @ MomJovi January 25, 2012, 9:07 pm

    I’ve ALWAYS felt that way at yoga. Granted, I’ve been probably less than a dozen times to my life, except for one thing — prenatal yoga. I started it at about 15 weeks and went all the way through the end. We did the introductions at the beginning too and everyone shared how many weeks they were and whether it was their first, second, etc. I think the teacher had us do that so that she knew which ones (the further along ones) to specifically modify poses for, but I loved it. I didn’t make any lasting friends, per se, but it always felt like such a welcoming environment. Go back. It helped me keep my sanity and feel somewhat normal, even when I felt like a house!

  • Kristen@Change of Pace January 25, 2012, 9:15 pm

    I really don’t like that feeling and it can be discouraging especially on a fitness/exercise level. I already don’t enjoy trying something new so if I get the “i don’t belongs” I more than likely won’t come back. When I see someone new when I’m working out I always try to make them feel more welcome and talk to them. Then at least they have one familiar face in the room when they come back.

  • TeenyLittleSuperChef January 25, 2012, 9:16 pm

    It’s nice to know there are others out there that have that sense of not belonging, especially when it comes to classes like yoga. When I first started belly dancing last year I was so freaking nervous. I’m a total white girl, completely uncoordinated and definitely not someone typically found in a belly dancing class. But you know what? I absolutely love it now! I still don’t shimmy or shake, but I realized, neither do the other girls in my class nor do they at all care what I’m doing. It’s much more freeing and way more fun once you let go of all the insecurities and just do your own thing. In the end, it’s all about what you get from the class. Just imagine you’re in your own little bubble and no one can see you.

  • Kylydia January 25, 2012, 10:01 pm

    This sounds completely ridiculous, but when I get that feeling, I start really paying attention to my form and then tell myself that I am the best person ever to run/lift/stretch etc. I tell myself I’m the poster girl for whatever it is I’m doing (even if I know I’m terrible!). It’s a confidence thing, I guess, but it usually either makes me laugh or makes me actually feel better about myself.

    • Lisa January 26, 2012, 1:55 am

      That’s great, Kylydia! I think I will try that the next time I am feeling uncomfortable or out-of-place. My usually remedy is to just push through it because usually by the time I do something once, my anxiety level drops by 70%.
      Your way sounds hilariously awesome though! 🙂

      • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:25 pm

        I think that’s an awesome technique!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery January 25, 2012, 10:20 pm

    I guess my current “I don’t belong” situation is going back to school after a year of medical leave. I know it isn’t really a similar situation but I’ve been struggling with it. I don’t feel much like a college student anymore and it’s been a while since I’ve diligently studied or been in a classroom even. Tonight I had my first event for my department and I was incredibly nervous (to the point where I was shaking subtly). I kept telling myself over and over, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.” Once the lecture started I felt much more at ease. I think things like this take positive self-talk and time.

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies January 25, 2012, 10:25 pm

    I just try to think about how oftentimes, everyone else is just as new as I am, and I try to make new friends. I find it much easier in work-out situations than in real-life situations because you immediately know you have common ground (i.e. how sore you are the next day, how great the workout was, etc.).

  • Ali January 25, 2012, 10:45 pm

    I go to a gym where I work out right next to my college students and it can be uncomfortable. I have gotten to the point though that I just don’t care. I am there for myself and I am doing this to be healthy and strong. If they have something to say about it, they need to grow up and get a life – most just say hi and move on their way. I heard on the radio once that the DJ thought self-conciousness is silly as no one really cares what you wear, what you look like that day, how your hair is flipping wierd, or if you feel a touch pudgy one day. When I looked around during my classes, it was true, and I definitely don’t care about that stuff! I never even think about it when it comes to other people! Actions and words speak louder than image to me.

    Make friends in yoga! I am in an advanced yoga class but can’t do many of the advanced moves because I have an autoimmune disease that doesn’t permit me to. All the girls (and guy) are so supportive and helpful and I’m 10 years younger than everyone there. I felt wierd at first but once you get to know everyone, it’s fun! 🙂

    • Laura January 26, 2012, 9:07 am

      If it makes you feel any better, when I was in college I remember seeing one of the Dean’s work out at the campus fitness center all the time and I thought it made her really cool. 🙂

      • Ali January 26, 2012, 12:03 pm

        I love that! Thank you! 🙂

        • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:25 pm

          For once, a radio DJ said something wise!! LOL

  • Caryln January 25, 2012, 11:10 pm

    I hate that feeling. I have been exPeriencing it lately in the weight room because I have just recently really got In to weight training. I will go to the gym with an awesome plan for an awesome workout and then get discouraged because I’m scared i won’t use the equipment at my new gym correctly or have people wonder why I’m in the weight room. This usually ends with me deviating from my plan and then being a little disappointed in myself. After reading these comments tonight though, I’ve decided to go to the gym tomorrow to use the equipment that intimidates me. I need to shake this feeling ASAP because in reality even when I see people doing exercises incorrectly at the gym it really makes me happy that they are at the gym an trying so I really shouldn’t think people will judge me. Tomorrow I’m not going to give a damn!

  • Mary January 25, 2012, 11:28 pm

    I hate that feeling too! I recently joined a hot yoga studio and have only been taking the minimal-heat beginner’s classes. But, once a week I make myself go to an intermediate hot class with all of the more experienced yogis. It is really intimidating, especially since I modify a lot of the poses! I just remind myself that everyone has to start somewhere, and that yoga really is a judgement-free zone (I realized that no one is even looking at anyone else, we’re all too in the zone, haha).

  • khushboo January 25, 2012, 11:44 pm

    I remind myself that as pro as fellow goers seem, they too were a beginner once…the only difference is that they didn’t let that awkward feeling bring them down!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well January 26, 2012, 1:24 am

    Sometimes I feel like that socially when I go to yoga. Everyone is really chatty before class and I feel like I am the only stranger. But then I tell myself that this 90 minutes is MY time and to savor it. I can be friendly, introduce myself, or simply keep to myself. The wonderful thing about yoga is it’s all about no judgements and no ego. Take frustrations and insecurities out on the mat…and leave them there. Easier said than done 🙂

  • Céline January 26, 2012, 1:57 am

    I recently started a new job and it’s taken me some time to get my bearings… I still don’t totally feel like I belong.

    This situation has made me realize how important it is for me to step outside my comfort zone if I ever want to be comfortable. Even if it’s a little painful at first, the awkwardness dissipates a lot faster if I just open up and reach out to others. I remind myself that at one point I felt this same awkwardness with some of the people I am closest to today…

    It’s also made me realize how important it is to reach out to people who are new – it doesn’t cost you much and can mean a lot to a person trying to feel like they belong. The smallest things make a huge difference : smiling at them, starting up a casual conversation…

    Thanks for bringing up this topic Caitlin

    • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:27 pm

      Congrats on your new job 🙂 What an awesome accomplishment!

  • ~Jessica~ January 26, 2012, 5:04 am

    I don’t think I’ll ever get over the “I don’t belongs” – I have to fight with those feelings in just about every situation, from being less intelligent than my peers at PhD level, to feeling generally like a slob where others are pretty and stylish, to being paranoid that I’m the biggest and most out of shape person in the room at every gym class I go to…and I’ve been going to those classes for about 18 months now, but the feelings of fear and self-consciousness are every bit as prevalent as the first day I walked into the studio.


  • helen @ change comes from within January 26, 2012, 6:34 am

    I got the same feeling when i first joined my running club, “why am I here! Im not good enough!” sometimes it creeps back….doubt and the power of your own mind can be such a powerful thing, right?

    Reading these comments though it seems all kinds of people, from all different backgrounds, experience these feelings.

    We should all believe in ourselves a bit more, and if we want to do something, do it, and be proud we are out there.

  • Kelly January 26, 2012, 8:13 am

    Okay this might be one of my favorite posts. Until about 5 minutes ago when I read your post I have never thought about the “I don’t belong” feeling. Whenever i start feeling that way I usually give in to the emotion and let it hold me back. I never really thought I had an option not to feel that way. I know that sounds stupid but really I haven’t ever thought deeply about it. I just accepted how I felt. Thanks for the eye opener.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 26, 2012, 8:29 am

    I try to get over it by striking up some conversation with other people around me. It’s so much easier to feel like you fit in once you make some friends!

  • Sophie @ threetimesf January 26, 2012, 8:35 am

    I am all about the hot weather too – the sun is shining today, but my toes were still chilly in flip flops! Roll on Summmer 🙂

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed January 26, 2012, 8:57 am

    Last night I went on my first run with a few ladies from a running group I found on the internet. I was so nervous! I kept thinking they’ll run too fast (even though I knew the pacing would be fine for me), I’ll feel like death during the run, they’ll all be friends, I’m not a real runner.

    Needless to say the run was great! I felt awesome during it, everyone was so nice, and I’ll definitely be back. Sometimes we really build things up in our heads when we just need to let it roll and relax 🙂

  • Meaghan January 26, 2012, 9:23 am

    I am pretty introverted so I get that feeling in almost every new social situation. I’ve found that it’s gotten better with age, but it can still be hard. I teach at my yoga studio now but there was a time where I felt exactly like you- how do all these peeps know each other, why is noone talking to me, waaah, guess I’ll just go lay in child’s pose. And I just started going to the gym in my hood, where I totally feel like the odd man out and like everyone is staring at me. New/different can be hard!

    • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:28 pm

      Haha i definitely feel like wahhh ill just go into childs pose a lot.

  • Kate S. January 26, 2012, 9:54 am

    I try to remember a couple of things–I have a set amount of space in the world around my body, so wherever my body happens to be, I belong there! It’s my space! Also, I think a lot of times the “I don’t belongs” come from fear that others might be judging us, so I have to remember that if somebody’s judging me, that’s his or her issue and insecurity to work through! This helps me plaster a smile on my face and move forward with the curiosity and humility that makes any situation more comfortable. If none of this works, hey, being uncomfortable sometimes is a great growth promoter :).

    Also, do you know about It’s an amazing website that might make getting back to your practice easier. Check it out. In-person classes are always preferable–that energy can’t be replicated at home–but sometimes we only have 45 minutes or an hour or the class times don’t work for us. I love this site–it’s totally brought me back to my practice!

    • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:28 pm

      Thanks for passing on this website! I will def check it out.

  • Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun January 26, 2012, 10:15 am

    I bring a friend and then I instantly belong because I have someone there with me. Honestly, when I’m nervous to try out a new class or workout I always bring someone with me for support!

  • Deanna @PRetty in Pittsburgh January 26, 2012, 10:32 am

    Love me some sunflower butter! Mmmm. My tip in terms of yoga is to hang in the back. That way you won’t feel as self conscious, and when you get your confidence up, can rock it up front! (Even though yoga is about YOU and no one else, it’s still a good mentality and confidence booster.)

  • Ashley January 26, 2012, 10:48 am

    I just joined a new gym, and I struggled with this as well when I started going to the group fitness classes. I know it’s pretty much all in my head, but it’s hard to escape those thoughts.

  • Poptartyogini January 26, 2012, 10:48 am

    I actually have the ‘I don’t belongs’ when it comes to bloging. I just started and it freaks me out. My posts aren’t interesting, no one reads them but what if someone does and doesn’t like me? It is scary! But I post anyway because I want to. My yoga teacher says that your mat is your island and no one can bother you on your island. I always think that I want my island to be 5 star where all the celebrities vacation. Go to yoga, have fun and don’t worry.

    • CaitlinHTP January 26, 2012, 1:29 pm

      I like you 🙂

  • Cheryl Mosley January 26, 2012, 11:08 am

    Moved to a new place(2 months ago) and have often had a lot of “I don’t belongs.” I usually give myself a pep talk, in the car, and realize that being part of life’s adventures is so much better than missing out because of the fear.

  • zoe (and the beatles) January 26, 2012, 12:45 pm

    ugh i know the feeling! i fell out of my practice over the summer too and picked it back up over late fall, early winter. i was really surprised by how harsh and critical my mind was! a lot happened over the summer to decrease my strength, stamina, and flexibility so hopping on the mat and thinking i was in the same place as i was previously ended up unsettling me. mainly because i was in such a different place. for a while it kept me from a regular practice because i was so down about where i let myself fall. but then i remembered that that is what yoga is about — meeting yourself where you’re at, without judgement. additionally, it’s like, really, who cares what other people think? you belong if you feel you belong (and vice versa).

    anyway, hope it all balances out (something tells me it will :))

  • Amber K January 26, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I totally had a case of the “I don’t belongs” during my first TRX class. I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (and I was pretty right!) ha! But when I went back for my second class I pretended like I had been going for years. I somewhat knew what was going on, but I pretended like I knew everything and was great at it. I’ve only been to a few classes, but I still feel good!

  • Morgan @ Morganshines January 26, 2012, 6:03 pm

    I ALWAYS have to I don’t belongs at the gym!!!! 🙁 I have never taken a class like spin or Zumba because I am a total chicken!!

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