Christine Yi Suh shares how true belonging as both an Enneagram Four and a Korean American woman starts with spiritual practices of radical self-love and acceptance.
One of the main longings I’ve carried throughout my life as an Enneagram Four has been a desire to belong.
And for the majority of my life, I tried to find belonging by shrinking myself to fit within the expectations set for me by societal, religious, and cultural structures. I strove to be a meek and submissive woman within Korean patriarchal church contexts and an invisibilized, tokenized Asian within dominant white spaces. As I sought belonging in these communities, I rejected the embodied parts of who I was—my womanhood, my Koreanness, my personality, story, and voice. At the time, I didn’t realize that the longer I stayed in these communities, I would lose the very person God made me to be.
Has your need for acceptance or belonging ever motivated a betrayal of your true, embodied self? Did you ever feel the need to disguise or suppress parts of yourself in order to better fit the expectations of others?
Brene Brown in her book, Braving the Wilderness says “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world. . . . True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
These past years, I have been on a journey of believing in and belonging to myself. I have been reframing and transforming my Four longing to belong into spiritual practices of radical self-love. In doing so, I am shedding decades of internalized oppression and self-rejection. I am following the courageous, liberative path of Korean women before me who resisted narratives of erasure and self-hatred, and sought their own flourishing, healing, and belonging. I see clearly now that true belonging first begins within me.
My fellow Four siblings, I believe our journey for acceptance must become an inward reality rather than an outward search for belonging. The struggle to find outward affirmation will always be there, but we can also cultivate practices and narratives that remind us of our inherent worth. We are always being invited to come home to the abundant, singing voice of God who says to each of us, “You are my beloved child. . . . I am so pleased with you.” Can you hear this Voice deep within you? Your existence is a gift. You are beloved, you are enough, and you belong—just as you are.
About the Author
Christine Yi Suh is a writer, spiritual director, pastor, and the author of Forty Days on Being a Four. She has previously served as a pastor of spiritual formation and as the assistant director of spiritual formation and care at Pepperdine University. She and her spouse, David, live with their two children outside of Los Angeles.