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Your mission: Belong to a place

Believe it or not, belongingness is a word.

Moreover, it's a thing right now. Alienation – the antithesis of belonging – is blamed for everything from suicide, to widespread ennui, to fringe political affiliations. Phew.

So most of us are seeking belongingness. Somewhere. Anywhere. It's a fundamental human need.

I know that belonging involves other people, of course: people need people. But in my book (Infinite Messages chapter, p. 255), I urge my children to belong to a place, somewhere to which they feel a deep connection. Where they can say, “In this moment, this is me on this earth, and this is where I belong.”

I'm a fanatic about this because I know from personal experience that when this mindfulness of place happens, we can know the elation, and the great comfort, of coming home.

So you can imagine my joy when my LA-based second son recently found “his place.” That's him in the photo, celebrating his find surrounded by family and literally immersed (thanks to his fashion-forward instincts regarding camo waders) in the experience of simply being there.

Researchers say that a sense of belonging may be just as important as food, shelter and physical safety, and is found across all cultures and different types of people. They note that for indigenous cultures, other people and place are not only synonymous but inextricably entwined, providing a deep sense of belonging and identity.

As I write in “It's Hard Being You,” you need to belong!

- to a person (know at least one person intimately)

- to a tribe ( a family, a cause, a religion, a profession)

- to a place (somewhere that calls you to be present)

A robust sense of belonging is crucial to human well-being and can improve health and resilience for individuals and communities worldwide. That's power!

The feeling of belonging is totally subjective – there is no formula for creating it – so “there” can be anywhere, depending on what you bring to a particular place.

It involves cultivating a relationship beyond simple familiarity. It's knowing that you are somehow an integral part of your surroundings.

Actively looking for that connection is crucial to getting there.

Go for it.


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