We all have the need to belong. This is undoubtedly true.
From the well known Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to a large amount of current research. The questions they ask now are focused on helping us understand why our sense of belonging is something we care about so much.
We need to belong. It’s not something we can control or even should try to control. It’s a part of being a human, living amongst others and sharing the same reality with those around us.
The term “belonging” has various meanings.
One of the definition states that Belongingness is “the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group.”
Fiske, S.T. (2004). Social beings: A core motives approach to social psychology. United States of America: Wiley.
Belonging is a strong and inevitable feeling that exists in human nature. Exists in every one of us. Maslow describes a sense of love and belonging as one of the most important human motivators and drivers.
Roy F. Baumeister and Mark R. Leary (The Need to Belong: Desire for Interpersonal Attachments as a Fundamental Human Motivation, published by the American Psychological Association, Inc in 1995) explain that every human to fulfil this need must “form and maintain at least a minimum amount of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships.”
We search for long-term, reliable connections, we want to be a part of something, interact, care and be cared for. It is imperative to our well-being.
How easy is it to belong in today’s world? Easier than ever before.
Everyone is constantly trying to belong.
We mimic, copy, follow, associate, meet, organize, attend, become a fan of, blend in, sign up for, take part, contribute, join, subscribe, gather and share etc. We do all that and a lot more because we are trying so hard to belong. We are encouraged to do it.
Does it always feel right?
Many have argued over the years that our need for a meaningful and deep sense of belonging is not truly fulfilled by any of those modern means of connecting. That they are superficial and top-level. Nevertheless invitations are everywhere.
How can we maintain our sense of self in today’s reality? Where can we begin building stronger and purposeful connections?
Begin with yourself!
This month our theme is freedom. Freedom to be our true and honest selves. Maybe even breaking free for a month from this tireless chase to fit in and trying to just be fully present with ourselves only.
What can we use that time for?
Getting to know ourselves better or maybe rediscovering ourselves. The beauty of us lies in our individualism, in differences and specific personality traits that make us who we are in a very unique way.
The need to belong can lead to confusion.
Where is the balance for you between being drawn to belong and being yourself? Is the difference clear?
We all have unique stories to tell and there is a great value in our distinctiveness. Can you recognise it in yourself?
When you have a sense of freedom to be who you are, when you have an awareness of your true self and you feel comfortable in your own skin, only then can you bring the best out into the world.
Next time when you look at someone successful, smart and beautiful (or just recognised as such) and the thought crosses your mind “I could be more like them”… think! You can try to act like them, but there is only one person who you can be – and it’s you! – successful, smart and beautiful in your own unique way. See it for yourself!
Oscar Wilde has a great quote – “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Keep being you. That’s the job we can do best. Trying to fit in takes your freedom away; it puts others first and it makes them right (or at least righter).
In order to be you, get to know you and notice how safe it is. Honour yourself by being honest and authentic. Breathe this freedom in because together with it comes a sense of self- trust that is one of the best investments you can make in yourself.
In fact this is the only way to be happy. You are free to be… YOU! This is The Job that You Can Do Best!
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