Week 4: Belonging
A sense of belonging involves more than simply being acquainted with other people. It is centered on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group as well as providing the same attention to other members.
Studies have shown that there’s a positive link between a sense of belonging and greater happiness and overall well-being, as well as an overall reduction in the mental health outcomes
You may have experienced belonging support from the current community notion that “we’re all in this together”. As we try and get back from years of socially distancing you might find it’s difficult, but remember we are doing it out of a sense of connection and responsibility for our community’s welfare. You may also feel this support from the smaller communities that you are a part of such as an organization or place of worship. Even when you can’t be there in person, you know connecting to this group and its members gives you a sense of belonging, of place.
There are steps you (or a loved one who is struggling) can take to increase your sense of belonging.
Make an effort. Creating a sense of belonging takes effort, to put yourself out there, seek out activities and groups of people with whom you have common interests, and engage with others.
Be patient. It might take time to gain acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group.
Practice acceptance. Focus on the similarities, not the differences, that connect you to others, and remain open to new ways of thinking.
Remember its quality > quantity — always.