Cultivating a Sense of Belonging

Sense of Belonging
Sense of Belonging (Photo Credit: Cat Collier)

“By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier.”
– Susan Lieberman

Belonging is a prominent need for us human beings. We desire to fit in, to be a part of something, to feel that we are connected to others. Belonging is a big soap box that I sit on and preach about. When we don’t feel we belong, we truly question whether or not our life matters and therefore stop ourselves from serving and contributing to others. 

I came across this article last week on the “Stories that Bind Us” featured in the NY Times.

As I was reading this article, I kept thinking “YES! YES!”

People who feel more connected, more stable, and are more able to bounce back have a greater understanding of their family and the family dynamics. Their families are open with them, have shared stories about who they are, what they’ve done in life–including their failures and successes, and in the end let the other members know that they will always stick together.

It’s this sense of belonging and togetherness that creates resilience among family members. They know they have somewhere to turn, they understand that things haven’t always been perfect or bad, and that they can make it through any kind of changing times.

When we think about raising families or even convening with our families around the holidays, how often are we sharing stories that will really bind us? Are we being open and sharing our setback and failures, or are we talking about current events and avoiding the tough table topics that will transform a sense of distance into a sense of belonging?

It takes courage and strength to set the tone in your family to talk about the past, to share of yourselves fully, but it’s worth it. Creating a sense of belonging in your family members – no matter how young or old – will ensure that each individually knows they have a place to call home. 


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