The Sense of Belonging

What is the opposite of loneliness? Is it belonging?

"Belonging", such a simple word for such a vital concept!

To belong is a primal human need like the need for food or shelter. A sense of belonging is fundamental to our happiness and well-being.

When we don't feel like we belong, either to one another, our friends and families, to our work or the community at large, we are both less motivated and less likely to hang in there in the face of obstacles. Even a single act of being excluded can undermine self-control, cause pain and havoc in our lives.

As an example of I'd like to share the story of a client, Maria.

Maria: It seems as though I don't fit in anywhere. I love my family but I often feel as though I don't understand them. Our spiritual paths and ways of interacting are so different that it's a struggle to communicate and relate.

Me: Very often those of us who are born into a family where we feel we don't fit in come to play the role of catalyst for the family. We are the one who presents different ideas and ways of thinking. It's a needed contrast that perhaps in some way, gives others an opportunity to face something in themselves, by sharing what the catalyst has learned.

When we feel different, it can also come from a belief that we deserve to be, or will be criticized. It creates a lot of anxiety.

As you release the energy of feeling anxious, you may find that you are able to see others for who they really are and appreciate the gifts they bring in the family.

Another important aspect is to accept that you incarnated into this family to learn not to criticize and judge. Remember that your family is a mirror of yourself. How surprising would it be when you truly accept and love yourself for the unique person that you are, your feeling within the family will profoundly shift as well. You will be able to smile and know that we are all on our own journey, and we will evolve in our own time.

Maria's story may remind you of some part of you too.

What i have learned is that our common humanity is more powerful than our individual differences. In this context, "Who am I?" is a far less significant question than "Who are we?"

Until next time...