It’s common to want to feel a sense of belonging. When we belong, we are accepted as a member of the group. A sense of belonging is a normal human need just as our need for food and shelter is. When you feel like you belong, you feel your life has value and you cope with your emotions better.
Sometimes though, we lose our sense of belonging.
This can be for a myriad of reasons. Traumatic events could influence a person’s self-esteem and self-compassion. Trauma often leaves survivors feeling out of sync with the rest of the world. They feel lonely, overwhelmed, anxious, turmoil, and emotional pain that creates a sense they are different.
As humans, we are social beings. Our relationship quality is affected by our mental, physical, and emotional health. As researcher and author Brené Brown explains, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.”
Regaining a Sense of Belonging
One way to help regain a sense of belonging is through kindness. Kindness releases the feel-good hormone. It makes you feel happier and improves your mood. Here are some ways to regain your sense of belonging.
• Contribute to the lives of others by offering to listen and be a sounding board for them. This not only brings them joy but will give you a feeling of connectedness.
• Have compassion for others who are different for you. Spend time helping others who are less fortunate, have different likes or needs than you.
• Let go of judgments that build walls. Instead, focus on people by connecting with them. No one is perfect. We all have struggles.
• Be kind in your words and way of thinking. Use words that offer strength, compassion, acceptance, and caring.
• Begin building healthy relationships with others using kindness. Healthy relationships are important to our sense of well-being. Help trauma survivors realize they are safe and secure by showing them kindness.
• Turn towards your partners for support during tough times.
• Give and receive compliments with kindness.
• Be compassionate of others who are suffering.
• Begin doing things that bring you joy. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Give your time at a soup kitchen.
• Be kind to yourself instead of always putting yourself down. Take a compliment for what it truly is – an act of genuine caring and kindness.
• Join groups or clubs that are interesting to you. Participate in discussions and be kind to those who are members.
We all want to feel like we belong. When our sense of belonging becomes affected and destroyed by trauma or other factors, we need to find a way to regain it.
Kindness to both yourself and to others is one of the easiest ways to begin gaining your sense of belonging back.