Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A Sense Of Belonging

Yesterday I shared some thoughts on having a sense of purpose in your life.  The next pillar of well-being is having a sense of belonging.  What does this mean?  It basically means that you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.  There’s a saying that “No man is an island”.  Despite the feelings of loneliness that we all feel sometimes, the reality is that we are all connected to one another and everyone else on this planet.  You disagree?  Where do you think your food comes from?  Did you grow all of it in your backyard?  Of course, a sense of belonging is more than just the reality of connectedness with other people.  A sense of belonging would also include a sense of acceptance and relationship.  Most people are part of a family, a community, a city, a state, and a country.  Beyond this they might also be part of a faith community, a political party, or other groups of people who share your beliefs or values.  We have grandparents, parents, spouses, significant others, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, neighbors, friends, employers, employees, and co-workers.  Our sense of belonging can be gauged by the depth of our relationships with all the people in our lives.  The more love and acceptance we experience, the more we feel a sense of belonging.  I expect my family to love me.  It’s part of their job description.  Beyond that, it’s all gravy.  Someone joked once that my team would jump off the 2nd Street bridge for me.  I would never ask them to do that but I do believe that if I fell off the 2nd Street bridge into the river some of my co-workers would jump in the water to save me.  When one experiences such a level of love and caring, one realizes that their life has value and acceptance, not to mention the joy of knowing other people want you in their life, all of which are the foundation for a sense of belonging. 

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