How to Manage Your Sense of Belonging
Do you feel accepted by others? Are those in your life supportive? Do you have a strong inner circle of friends? When life has you down, do those you thought would have your back come through? Do you have an authentic sense of belonging?
To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. ~ Simone Weil
Naked Truth about Belonging
The naked truth about your sense of belonging is that it's an essential principle of human nature. It is as essential as food and shelter and it affects your wellbeing. You want to be accepted by others, especially those you care about and you want to be a part of something that is greater than yourself. Being connected to another and forming relationships creates a sense of belonging.
Truth be told, the journey of feeling like you belong and fostering healthy relationships can be a winding road. The experience can be wonderful. Although, at times, the relationship experience can be awful. Let’s face it, you’ve been there, I’ve been there, but we don’t want to stay there. Ultimately, you want to belong to relationships that bring you joy, fulfillment and happiness.
Sense of Belonging in the Military
My benchmark for authentic belongingness is the 21-years I spent in the military serving our nation. Day one, I felt a sense of being an accepted member of a select group and institution. On many levels, the institution of the military cultivated my sense of belonging by fulfilling my physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. Over time an amazing bond of camaraderie, devotion and esprit de corps was formed and nurtured beyond measure. More so, I came to understand and savor the notion that I was part of the fabric of something far greater than me.
Like millions before me, I volunteered to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and did bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I took that obligation freely, without mental reservations or purpose of evasion, and did faithfully discharge the duties assigned to me. In reflecting on this experience, my sense of belonging was unparalleled. For me this was an unprecedented experience.
But, not everyone is going to experience belongingness in the same way. Our lives, values, and interests are different. Naturally, we all need and desire closeness and social belonging. It is imperative to avoid difficulties communicating and navigating our daily lives.
Feeling like you don't belong can be intensely stressful. You may experience a range of feelings from sadness, depression, isolation, lonesomeness, to hopeless. When your feeling of acceptance is not quite budding as you hoped, how can you manage your sense of belonging?
Five Tips to Manage Your Sense of Belonging
- Treat yourself well. Maintain your physical and mental health.
- Embrace yourself. Without qualification, accept all aspects of yourself- strengths and weaknesses.
- Project a positive attitude. Think, speak and engage in positive activities.
- Express gratitude. Create feelings of appreciation , love, and calm.
- Develop rewarding relationships. Inspire, support, and encourage each other.
D.Ed., S. (2014, May 17). How to Manage Your Sense of Belonging, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2014/05/how-to-manage-your-sense-of-belongingness