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Our Insatiable need to be part of a Tribe

Managing rejection when all we want is connection.

It’s a primordial instinct to be part of a tribe. One of Maslow’s well documented needs. We want to belong. To feel love and a sense of connection. Community. Togetherness. Shared goals. Common purpose. It’s wonderful when we’re in sync with our gang and all moving in the same direction together.

Each Tribe Brings Different Fulfillment

Now each one of us has multiple tribes of varying prominence contributing to our sense of happiness and wellbeing. For my teenage daughter her school pals and online social community is IT. (Almost incomprehensibly so. Case and point: she had to do a presentation on something of sentimental value at school. Rather than take anything from her cute keepsake box, a lovingly collected (by me admittedly) mass of mementos since birth, she took some instagram photos of her school friends. I mean!). For my mother it’s our family, unequivocally. It’s the only group that matters and she relishes bonded contentment, harmonious fulfilment and suffers no void from a muted social life – who needs friends when you have family. For me and probably you, I have my familial tribe, my friends tribe, my work tribe and I’m now creating my well-being tribe (insert your passion/hobby/interest group). Each tribe brings a different sense of belonging and connection. A rewarding aura of commonality and deep reciprocal empathy. All of them are primeval in urge and surge, necessities to bring support and meaning to the daily grind.

Modernity Has Changed Things

The challenge in our modern, undulating lives with its pace, constant change, breadth of choice and boundless geographies is that it’s never been so hard to belong to communities with substance and longevity. Gone are the Victorian days of the street community. Gone are the days of the job for life. Gone is the solidity of love partnerships till death do us part. There’s volatility and flux everywhere. And this kinda messes with our heads, hearts and souls.

It Works Both Ways

You see along with our choice of which community to join or grow comes the choice of which tribes to reject, to leave, to scorn. Flip it round and you have of course the dreaded Outcast Scenario. The day when you are rejected by your tribe. When your company decides your contribution isn’t what the organisation needs. When your husband leaves you for a younger model. When the ‘in crowd’ want you out. When you just can’t break into an industry circle you believe you should be part of. Rejection is rife, an inevitable part of life and yes it hurts.

How to Soothe?

So how to soothe your soul through tribal rejection? How to makes sense of the destabilising closed door?

Our nature is to satisfy the primitive needs of belonging and to cling desperately, wistfully and rather pathetically to the group/person/tribe we’ve attached ourselves to. We become rather shallow, vulnerable versions of ourselves flailing around trying to plump our peacock feathers to prove we are still quite fabulous and they should be so lucky to have us in their gang. The corporate Outcast Scenario is particularly galling to witness. The extra graft, the over delivery, the perpetual feedback requests “Am I doing okay? What did you think of that?”. All vapid and cringe worthy because in our cut throat work worlds once you’re out you’re out.

Don’t demean yourself by wasting efforts on a tribe who are consciously, presumably heartlessly shunning you.

No, take heed. Take the hint. Get the picture. Get with the god damn awful programme. Open your eyes wide and move the hell on. This is the Epiphany.

Epiphany

If your tribe have shunned you, do not cling. The universe, higher consciousness, God, whatever you want to call it, is telling you this chapter has closed and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Don’t force what is now unnatural and painful.

Recognise the signals. Respect the circumstances. Move on out. And up. Move deliberately on up.

It does feel sad and it does bash your confidence so low you wonder how you’ll ever stop the tears from flowing and how you’ll ever pick yourself up again. But, my dear resilient, beautiful friend, you bloody well will. You are wonderful, perfect you and if that tribe doesn’t want or need you and your gifts there will undoubtedly be an even better, warmer, richly engaging tribe just around the corner waiting for your energetic, positive, passionate self to join them. It’s sounds like a cliché, but seriously it’s their loss. And your responsibility now is to detach emotionally, see the situation for what is is and move positively towards the better, more sparkly horizon.

Move On Up

So, when you’re feeling knocked, rejected and at odds with your tribe, step back, accept that tribe was just one chapter in your life journey, a fleeting moment that served a purpose and has now gone. It’s time for a fresh community where you’ll belong, flourish and life will be back being played on your terms. Never, ever forget life is a choice and you choosing who you hang with is essential to living life with joy. Go find ‘em and move on up!

Originally published at www.yourlifehack.com

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