It is part of our human nature to want to feel like we belong somewhere. We are after all, social creatures and the idea that we are not relevant enough to belong anywhere can significantly impact our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Because without any sense of belonging, we will all feel lost, alone, and like we do not matter.
In short, belonging is the sense of being connected to people and feeling like you are part of a bigger group. Contrary to what some might think, having a family or group of friends does not guarantee a sense of belonging. In fact, belonging is more about having authentic interactions and a shared sense of unity, beliefs and values. It is also about wanting to feel welcomed, accepted and seen for who you really are.
And at the end of the day, don't we all just want to feel included, seen and loved?
The reality is that we all need people and social connections, and belonging is a fundamental part of leading a happy, healthy and balanced life. A sense of belonging is crucial to feeling satisfied, loved and supported. In fact, research shows that feeling like belonging is a prerequisite to being happy and healthy.
Another study reports that a sense of belonging can increase a person’s self esteem while also reducing their negative mood. However, having a sense of belonging is important not only because of its benefits, but also because the lack of it entails negative consequences on a person’s overall well being. One study even reports that both feelings of not belonging and physical pain are experienced in the same region of the brain. Not only that, but a low sense of belonging is said to cause depression and severe mental distress.
That same study suggests that having a support system and feelings of belonging are key in treating depression. With having a low sense of belonging, a person can begin to feel like they are a burden and that they are not loved enough to be included. And being relevant and included is an important aspect of our social interactions.
Belonging is a primal part of who we are as human beings, and in order to take care of ourselves, we need to ensure that we surround ourselves with people and things that make us feel like we belong. Belonging is an important part of taking our wellbeing, and while it might sometimes feel like we will not ever belong, that is not true.
There are things and people out there who are meant just for you, so here are some tips on how you can find your people!
- Be true to who you are
Being authentic and showing the world who you really are is an important part of finding the right people for you. You cannot find the right people to surround yourself with if you do not know who you are. Not only that but building trust with others is an important prerequisite to building circles you belong to, and that is why it is imperative to be real and transparent with those around you.
- Surround yourself with like minded people
An important part of feeling like we belong to a group is surrounding ourselves with people who have the same beliefs and values as we do. You cannot expect to belong to a community whose values, thoughts and morals do not align with who you are. When you are around people who share the same purpose, vision and goals, you will slowly begin to see your sense of belonging start to increase.
- Become more accepting
Remember that just because someone does things in a different way than you do then that does not mean they are rejecting you. In situations like these, it is instrumental to shift your focus onto the similarities and good things you share with these people.
- Do not stay idle
As harsh as this might sound, belonging does not happen if you do not put an effort to find the right people for you. And while some might argue that feelings of belonging come more easily to some than others, it is still important that you get out of the victim mode and make an actual effort. You need to engage, connect and interact with others in order to find your people.
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