A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. We want to belong, whether it be in high school clique, in a family, or in a desired community or tribe. Some see themselves as connected only to one or two people. Others believe and feel a connection to all people the world and to humanity. Belonging is a subconscious primal pattern that we are all born with.
We crave safety, belonging, and mattering essentially for our brain to perform at work, at home, in our relationships and in life overall. The greater the feeling of safety, both emotional and physical, the more confident we feel to take risks. When we succeed at the risks we’ve taken, we feel valued. The greater the feeling of connection with others, or the feeling that we belong together; the greater the feeling that we personally matter and make a difference and are contributing to the greater good.
We may ask ourselves, what is it that makes us feel this intrinsic need to belong?
Why are communities so important to us and how do we connect with them?
According to psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, the “belongingness hypothesis” states that people have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.
We are all social creatures and it’s a simple human trait that affects us all. It doesn’t matter if we are shy or outgoing, we all have a real desire deep down to connect with others and be part of a group that share common behavior’s. We want to feel accepted for who we are and acknowledged for our contribution to society and be known for our strengths.
Our society is moving at a rapid rate and while we are connected now more than any other time in history, it also has a down side. Due in part to technology, busy lifestyles, changing jobs, living in other countries, moving to new cities or small towns, juggling families and careers – all these factors contribute to making it harder for us to find the time and confidence to connect with others.
As a coach, I see many clients who more than ever, state they’re experiencing loneliness in their lives. In our daily lives, we don’t have the opportunities to easily share how we really feel and feel supported so I encourage my clients, friends and peers to find community that offers this kind of nourishment.
I personally experienced these feelings throughout my life and it’s the reason I am conscious about making the time in my schedule to connect and attend community gatherings that feel supportive. I try to help my client’s with resources that feel aligned with their unique desires and value system.
Do we dress to fit in?
It’s likely that we’ll dress or behave in a certain manner to fit in and belong to a tribe. With my own personal conscious observation on the topic of belonging, I began to to notice how I’ve participated throughout the year’s and at different stages of my life. When I was first awakening on to a spiritual path, before heading to a spiritual community space,I’d adorn myself with Mala beads and sacred jewelry. Or, If I was headed to a sceney NYC restaurant for social dinner with friend’s, I was more likely to dress in the latest fashion trending outfit.
I’ve found that with my growth, the more comfortable I feel with myself, the more likely I am to dress authentically without conforming to fit in. I have more awareness today when I’m uncomfortable in my skin because I’m dressed in a way that’s not “me” to conform to fit in. I believe it’s part of our human nature to dress a certain way when belonging to different groups, yet I’m more curious about the fine line of when we dress to belong vs. dressing to conform.
Here are some tips for finding your tribe:
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Take a creative class that interests you. Join a women’s or men’s group. Sign up for a workshop. Find a spiritual community that feels authentic and lights you up. Engage in activities that are in alignment with your hobbies and values
Be discerning. While letting go of judgment and criticism dissolve barriers between you and your tribe, it’s likely you won’t mesh with everyone you meet. This is where discernment comes in. Get clear on the kind of community you hope to attract. Be honest about your own needs and be willing to communicate them. Ask for what you desire and invite others to do the same. Set healthy boundaries but leave your heart open. The most important thing holding a tribe together is a sense of safety with our vulnerabilities.
Call in your tribe. Manifest what you want are some characteristics of the tribe you want to call in to your desired tribe. Utilize social media as a vehicle to seek out community that feels in alignment with your desired community.
Take action When you meet people who you feel instantly connected to and light you up, take action. Set a date, phone calland or invite them to be part of your inner circle. Tell them how much you enjoy and admire them. Plan a retreat together, or get creative in your own way!
Be Yourself Try to find connect with the people that you’re most likely be yourself with and you feel welcomed and celebrated for being your innate self.