Do you ever wonder what life would be like if we felt safe and secure to be real in our relationships? This question is on my mind a lot lately as we find our way in a post-pandemic world where family units and friendships have been fractured due to a global “shutdown” and lack of connection. Over the last 18 months, we have suffered great stress from the impacts of illness and social disconnection. We were forced to choose “safe groups” to be with and thus evaluate the quality of our relationships. We pondered our purpose and values in life. The pandemic posed a giant question:
What does it mean to belong?
For me, belonging is the longing to be yourself and to feel safe and secure with the people in your life. It is to be “home” in your truth and to be in community with others who share your values. It is not about acceptance by others; it is about genuine connection with others.
Clinging versus Connection
I spent many years clinging to the idea that the family I was born into is the family that I belong to. Essentially, I was clinging to the notion that a traditional family “home” is a place of belonging.
When my home fell apart, I lost my sense of belonging. Thankfully, through the grace of good friends, I was welcomed into the hearts of people in my community who helped me to stay on track with my education and emotional development. I learned that being true to myself leads to authentic relationships and, in those places of connection, I found my true home.
As social creatures, we tend to cling, or hang on to, relationships that we believe are right and necessary for our survival and success. Perhaps we have been taught to believe that we need certain people to survive and thrive. Maybe the thought of letting them go feels like a family betrayal. Whatever the situation may be, if a relationship is not serving you, or worse, it is hurting you, then you are only betraying yourself. What if you looked at home as a place inside yourself where you feel safe and secure? A place of authenticity and belonging where no-one other than you determines your fate and worthiness?
You are home.
As many of you know from reading my newsletters and walking the path with me, I have dedicated much of my adult life to exploring the concept of home in the context of emotional literacy and connection. Five years ago, I identified four pillars that support a strong foundation of love and belonging: joy, kindness, courage and calm. Using these four feelings as core value points, I developed a lifestyle practice that became the essence of my work as an author, a mother, and an advocate for emotional wellness.
Despite our social, cultural, racial and economic differences, we all long for the same thing: to feel safe. I am moved and empowered by stories of women and men who have transformed their experiences of loneliness and insecurity into belonging and connection. For a wonderfully diverse collection of intimate stories about belonging, I recommend Hungry Hearts featuring essays from 16 thought leaders. Included in the book are essays from authors Sue Monk Kidd and Austin Channing Brown whose other books about belonging are masterpieces as well.
We search our whole life for a grounded sense of belonging and a place to feel accepted. But, in my experience, it’s like searching for love. You can’t find it. It’s just in you. Your home – your sense of safety, security and love – comes from within. And, when you embody it, others join you. They meet you in your values on the path. It’s not about being part of a group, it’s about being you within a community of like-minded people.
Thank you for being here and for being part of this community. I am so grateful for you. Next time, we’ll explore the idea of wholehearted living.
Let’s journey together.