Where IS that elusive place of belonging and how do we get there?
For many years I had a niggling feeling that I needed to be somewhere else — I just couldn’t work out where that was.
I felt frustrated and a bit dizzy trying to figure it out.
I knew that if only I could find out where I ‘belonged’ I’d feel happier, more complete, at peace and I’d be enjoying a vibrant circle of loving friends, and I’d never feel emotionally isolated again.
I’ve moved around a bit over the years, but never found the place I’d been searching for — and yet I still yearned for it. That Utopian place that would be the ‘cherry on top’ of the cake of my life.
According to Abraham Maslow (1/04/08–08/06/70) and his famous Hierarchy Of Needs our need for and inner sense of belonging is at the third of five escalating levels.
It comes after having satisfied our first basic physiological needs for shelter, food, sex, breathing, sleep, and having balance in our body systems.
It also comes after the second level of our need for physical safety and security, and to have sufficient financial resources.
However, our need for a sense of belonging comes before our need for self-esteem, confidence and with being in touch with the higher values and experiences of life and the spiritual realm.
We can access the higher levels of the Maslow ‘pyramid’ relating to self-actualisation and spirituality — but without having the preceding levels in place we will be on shaky ground.
So where IS our place of belonging and how do we get there?
I think I’ve finally realised the answer…it’s inside our own mind!
In life these days it seems that many people believe that they need lots of ‘things’ in place before they feel happy, and be where they belong. In fact no ‘thing’ works for very long.
We need to feel and accept that we belong right where we are at this moment.
Wherever we are we face the same challenges and opportunities. These are:-
- Facing the struggles and learning from them.
- Accepting the feelings and managing them.
- Tolerating the uncertainty and having faith that all will be well
- Trusting in ourselves to remain resilient in the face of adversity
- Creating and holding our boundaries
- Sharing our values and beliefs and respecting those of others
- Creating and nurturing emotional connections and physical intimacy
- Enjoying the opportunity to be on the ride of life without knowing the destination
How to find your own place of belonging:
- Imagine yourself as a child — and connect with the sense of being that child. Feel how they felt about their life back then, and how much they felt as if they belonged where they were, or otherwise.
- Write a note from your inner child to the grown up you — and include what they need from you to feel that they belong in the world, with you, right now. (Use your non-dominant hand and a big bulky pencil or crayon for your inner child to write with.) You will then find out what has been getting in the way of them feeling that they/you can really belong somewhere.
- Commit to ‘re-parenting’ your inner child and ensure that you are always connected with one another — and that they always have that warm fuzzy feeling of belonging with you — here, now and always. Promise to do your best to make them feel a deep sense of belonging in the world too.
- Seek out environments which lift your spirits and energise you — and don’t forget to enjoy sharing these with your inner child too!
You can stop searching for what you already have.
You belong with your inner child and they belong with you.
You belong in a happy state of mind — in spite of your outer environment — and you can create that state of contentment, happiness, gratitude and joy in each moment.
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) — MIND HEALER & MENTOR
www.maxineharley.com — where you’ll find lots of FREE resources to help your inner child to heal and feel a sense of empowerment and belonging in the world.
You’ll also find help for recovering from a troubled childhood and toxic parents.
Originally published at lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk on December 28, 2015.
Originally published at medium.com