There is a difference between "fitting in" and "belonging," as I have learned from Brené Brown. "Fitting in" is conforming oneself to wedge into surroundings; "belonging" is being oneself yet being accepted in surroundings.
Pamela Druckerman, an American in Paris, has written before about the differences in American and French outlook. When a country doesn't comprehend children's songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It," that says a lot.
In "How to Find Your Place in the World After Graduation," Druckerman describes her careful choice of topic for a commencement speech, since France doesn't do "Reach for the stars!"
I based my talk on a common French expression that’s optimistic, but not grandiose: Vous allez trouver votre place. You will find your place. I’ve always liked this idea that, somewhere in the world, there’s a gap shaped just like you. Once you find it, you’ll slide right in.
How to find that place?
Druckerman presents a number of points, but I don't agree with them all. The ones I like:
1) Give yourself space and time to think.
You need to be blank, and even a little bit bored, for your brain to feed you ideas. The poet Wendell Berry wrote that in solitude, “one’s inner voices become audible.”
2) First tries usually suck. Don't expect magic immediately.
3) Everything you hear and get exposed to is material. Keep track of "ah-ha!" thoughts.
4) If being occasionally obsessive creates good work, that's cool.
I had thought that when Druckerman started about finding one's place, she would mean in the social sphere. But no; she means finding one's place in the wold, even when alone.