Finding a sense of belonging

Finding a sense of belonging

Where do we belong? In special places? With certain people? What is at the heart of Belonging? Finding where I belong has been a journey of finding where I can be my truest self. Finding where I am able to love, share, laugh, and cry the most. Along this journey, I’ve found places where my heart feels most at home, and places where I feel most alone.

The journey to discover belonging is our journey to discover ourselves. Here’s what I’m finding along that path.

A sense of belonging is the subjective feeling of being valued and respected in a reciprocal relationship. When you’re comfortable and accepted as your authentic self, you feel part of something. A sense of belonging also motivates you to reciprocate and develop stable, enduring relationships and fight for these connections. 

We as human beings are motivated by the need to belong. This need drives you to create and nurture caring interpersonal relationships that positively impact your daily life and personal growth.

As shared as this experience is, it looks different for everybody. An introvert might value spending time with a few close friends, while an extrovert feels their best when surrounded by a larger community. Myself, I’m an introvert so I enjoy smaller groups of friends.

Regardless of where you fit in, developing deeper bonds with your chosen community can bring meaning to your life, stimulate positive personal growth, and improve your well-being.

After teaching a class today, I have come up with three ways I feel most people create deeper bonds to create a sense of belonging.


1. Cultural and social

You may derive your sense of belonging from your ability to influence, communicate with, or understand a particular community. Your knowledge, shared behaviors, or skills demonstrate your social and cultural beliefs.

For example, in the workplace, it’s common to feel like an outsider as you gain a better understanding of your role, technical skills, learn company jargon, and understand your coworkers’ ways of doing things. Each day your sense of belonging increases.

2. Personal Identity

The freedom to develop your sense of self and have family members, close friends, and peers accept you can make you feel like you fit in, so you’ll likely bond with people who accept your personal values and worldview as well as your identity. 

You may root your personal identity in your sexual orientation or gender identity, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. However you define your identity, when you feel accepted, you’ll develop a stronger sense of belonging. 

3. Similarity with others

You can develop relationships constructed over a common bond nearly anywhere — an online community, a new friend at a regular gym class, or an old friend as passionate about art as you are. Your similarities make forging close relationships easier than doing so with someone whose interests are dissimilar to yours.

Having fun and conversation feels easy because you’re both interested in the same topics, share a sense of humor, or are motivated by the same goals. Thus, feeling accepted comes easy. 

I still struggle with a sense of belonging because I deeply feel disposed of by those I love. Maybe one day in the near future this will change. But for now, I hope you enjoy this post! 



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