We all have a fundamental need to belong and to know we are important. Psychologist Abraham Maslow lists belonging as the most important human need after food, shelter, and safety needs are met.
I have observed that we can often endure other deprivations and difficulties if we know we belong and we matter to someone. A top predictor of thriving after a disturbing life event is to have at least one person who is there for you unconditionally. Can you be that person for someone this year?
How many of our thoughts and actions are directed towards this need to feel important to someone? How much of our daily energy is used trying to meet this need, to feel like we belong?
Belonging not only gives us a sense of security and self-worth, but helps define our identity. I am, for example, a daughter, wife, mother, counselor, yoga-enthusiast, story-seeker, competitive game-player, and nature-lover. What groups and interests have become a part of your identity, a place where you belong?
A good place to start meeting this need is to recognize and be grateful for the people who already support you. If you can't identify anyone, think of the things you are passionate about, and find like-minded people and groups to spend time with. Pets are also a wonderful resource for unconditional support. The poem "Everything is Waiting for You" shows us some amazing, less obvious ways to wake up to a sense of belonging. Additionally, you can begin creating a place for others to belong.
To meet this need, we need others, but we also need ourselves. An important facet of meeting this need is to give ourselves the gift of showing up for our own life, being present with ourselves. Read more about the power of presence in the next blog of this series.