Belonging is such a basic need of all of us. Being a part of something. It is the opposite of being lonely or by yourself. A lot of warm feelings are felt when you can say or think that “I belong”. It signifies an affirmation of a close or intimate relationship (per Merriam-Webster dictionary). Having something (this car belongs to me) is not the belonging we will focus on today.
Belonging takes many forms from a membership card to a gym, to wearing your favorite sports team’s clothing. The more subtle yet more intense examples of belonging is family, work, informal project teams that form to do work, being part of a Church community or volunteer group. We belong to many things in our lives if we choose. Some remain for a lifetime while others are only temporary.
Do the warm feelings that go with belonging simply appear? Or is more needed for it to be a certainty? is attachment to a group, that brings about the sense of belonging, automatic once we join or become part of a group?
Having both led and been part of many groups, I have found that there needs to be a component of displayed interest by a person towards a group. An interest to participate and further contribute to building cohesion within a group. While we all have our wants and needs, one must show that we can either, at times, put our own interests aside for the group or demonstrate different ways that we are helpful to the group. You must care about the group you want to belong to and interested in both its well being and progress.
Being part of an email trail, always being on a speaker phone, or just showing up at the last minute will not bring you the feelings that come with belonging. As with everything in life, it always takes some work, your presence, patience and cooperation, to build this sense of belonging into your life to enjoy the warm feelings that it can offer.