Mental Health Blog

Longing to Belong

Posted by Lauren Gibson on

As you sit amongst the crowded room of people watching their various interactions, you begin to hear more and more clearly the phrase of your internal narrator echo the statement internally, “I don’t feel like I belong here.” Despite your best intentions, the search for a sense of belonging continues. One of the most innate responses we have, as humans, is the longing to belong. It is our inherent human desire to be part of something larger than us. The craving for home and belonging serves as an organic craving within mankind, as it reveals the desire of God’s character and design for community.

Connection, following Brene Brown’s definition, is “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”. From the time we enter this world, we need connection to thrive emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually. Neuroscience reveals that, following Daniel Goleman’s studies, our relationships ultimately shape our experiences. Goleman states that even our most routine encounters act as regulators in the brain, which prime our emotions. Therefore, following Goleman’s studies, the connectedness we experience on a daily basis can further effect the way our brain develops and performs proving the consequences of disconnection providing a ultimately dangerous result.

The willingness to share our stories, feel the pain of others through practicing empathy, and remaining genuinely connected amongst a disconnected world is not a calling for the halfhearted. The tendency to trade authenticity for safety, by choosing to hide ones true self from the world, may reflect a variety of experienced symptoms, such as anxiety and/or depression. E. E. Cumming wrote, To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting”.  Therefore, I encourage you to be deliberate with your intentions, take acts of courage – as courage is contagious – and take heart in the midst of the journey knowing that if being authentic is your goal, you will never regret it.

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