We all desire to belong; to be a part of a group, team. It’s why we seek out a mate, friends, lovers. Why we try to get along with our co-workers and teammates. We need other people to help us navigate and tolerate the world we live in. We long to be understood and recognized.
So how do we function when we’ve not found our tribe yet? What ways can we cope while searching? How do we function in tough environments when we might feel isolated or out of our comfort zone?
This has been on my mind the last few days for a few reasons. One as I think about my daughter off in college, trying to find those she connects with. How should she go about it when many seem very different than her? Two as I think about a friend who suffers from depression so deep that she barely desires to get out of bed; I am not even sure she is. Three as I think about my current relationship and how great it is to feel that sense of belonging and acceptance and what did I do to get there.
Here are some of my opinions on how to get to the place of feeling that you belong; no matter what situation you might be in.
- First this starts with a belief in your self. You must believe that you are worthy of belonging. Accept who you are. Your faults and strengths. That you are human and you will fail at times; you will hurt others at times, you are not perfect! BUT you ARE Worthy of Belonging. I believe every thing begins with your sense of worth! It’s tough to belong to others if you don’t accept yourself.
- Be honest about what you need from your tribe; your person. Your friends, coworkers, partner, family members cannot, will never be able to, read your thoughts. You must own being truthful about what you want and need from them. And be honest about what you’re willing to give to them. All relationships are a give and take, you must be able to be honest.
- Communicate these honest truths! If you never share what your needs are, no one will know. You have to share your boundaries as well. Each of us are 100% responsible for our own emotions. Our own actions.
- Take risks. Venture out of your comfort zone. Try new places for lunch. For happy hour. Join a new meet up or group event. Explore new stores, hiking trails, whatever interests you. Opening yourself to new adventures is a great way to meet new people who may just be part of your tribe.
- Be willing to be open. Having an open mind and heart creates an open posture that can help others to feel safe to connect with you. The more approachable you are, the more you might find connections.
There is no right or wrong way to go about finding those who could be part of your tribe. Belonging is a personal journey and one you get to drive. The more you work on seeking those you truly can be vulnerable with the better sense of belonging you’ll feel.
Don’t give up, your team, partner, tribe awaits.