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Longing for Belonging

The desire to belong is something we all experience. Beyond the use of the word belonging connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the desire for a greater sense of belonging is widespread and is a driver of our thoughts and actions. Are you longing for belonging?

In a recently published article, I focused on belonging with: belonging with ourselves, belonging with others, and belonging with our environments, rather than belonging to something. I identified five ways to satisfy our longing for belonging.

Relationships with the people and places can help satisfy our longing for belonging and energize us, but these relationships can also be draining and result in estrangement or a sense that we don’t belong. Our sense of belonging ebbs and flows, and belongings can often be in transition. Consider a continuum of belonging: beginning, emerging, expanding, strengthening, maintaining, declining, and maybe ultimately ending. The sense of belonging may be temporary or may be everlasting. Consider your sense of belonging in the areas described above. Where are you on this continuum? What conscious actions do you need to take to strengthen your sense of belonging or maybe to let go of a sense of belonging that is no longer serving you?  To what extent are you satisfied with your sense of belonging? Where might you take a stand, maybe even standing alone or consciously choosing against belonging?

I am grateful for the sense of belonging explored in recent Conversation Circles where we have engaged in dialogue about this longing for belonging. The feeling of belonging is very personal, and we all experience it in different ways. Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are often aimed at encouraging those who already belong to include those who feel excluded or feel they do not belong. But the call to action of this article is to take personal responsibility for our own sense of belonging.

Cultivate the sense of belonging that brings fulfilment into your life. Appreciate the longing for belonging, and cherish the sense of belonging that is emerging and strengthening in you. A sense of belonging is so much more fulfilling than the sense of loneliness and isolation. Engage in meaningful conversations with people you belong with and keep your consciousness alive. Embrace your longing for belonging every day.

To learn more about belonging with ourselves, with others, and with our environments, and to discover five ways to satisfy your longing for belonging, read the entire article on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/longing-belonging-paul-ward

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