We are social creatures. We need each other. Due to the pandemic, we have been asked to do something that is rather unnatural for us… isolate. Months and months of this sort of separation has caused us stress, but it has also helped us to realize how important we are to each other. We crave the interaction of another human being. We look for meaningful connection, which can lead to a sense of belonging.
Belonging means acceptance as a member or part. Such a simple word for huge concept, really. A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. According to the Psychology Today Magazine, feeling that you belong brings comfort and peace, is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions.
Isolation is dangerous. According to Andre Picard in his article, All the Lonely People, UC Observer in June 2016, isolation is twice as dangerous as obesity, equally as problematic as diabetes and can increase risk of dementia by a whopping 65%. Wow!
Seek connection. Look for your ‘tribe’. We have a natural tendency to gravitate to like-minded people. It represents laughs over a cup of coffee, deep and meaningful conversations, lively debate as well as warm and fuzzy feelings.
During pandemic precautionary measures, it’s definitely harder to maintain our sense of belonging. It might take extra effort, but now’s the time to think outside the box and connect. Pick up the phone for a chat! Reach out to community agencies to find programs or initiatives that facilitate people connections. For seniors, retirement communities are a wonderful and safe solution for fostering beautiful opportunities of socialization as this sort of engagement continues on each day. If you’re a senior and you’ve had enough of being alone, reach out to a retirement community and explore options for a short term or long term stay. It might just be exactly what you need right now.
Nevertheless, once we are free to be out and about, get out there and mingle in a safe way.
Here’s three quick tips on how to initiate bonding that leads to a sense of belonging:
- Self-reflect and set your intention. Get ready to become a part of something larger than yourself. Be committed and don’t cheat yourself out of a new adventure.
- Choose courage over comfort and start a conversation. It may be awkward to start, but practice of this sort of outreach can bring great rewards.
- Get involved and try new things. You can’t connect until you put yourself in the way of connecting! It may spark a new interest or rekindle an old one.
Repeat these steps until you find the people and relationships you seek.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe.”