Saturday, December 18, 2021

How to create a sense of belonging?

Belonging is the sense or feeling of being included in the team, group, organisation, society etc. It is a basic psychological need, everybody wishes to be a part of something. The feeling of the sense that you belong somewhere is always amazing. Most of the time, people feel that the sense of belonging is based on the behaviour of others. They search for it everywhere in the arms of kin, on familiar streets, among friends with similar beliefs. Yet, people experience loneliness. With the competitive world having a lot of expectations, loneliness is leading to frustrations, disappointments and finally depression. The solution is to create a sense of belonging.
Image: BMC Blog
At different levels we should work to create a sense of belonging. If you are in management, leader in any organisation, think how you can create that sense of belonging in your employees and team. If you are facing some challenges and lacking the sense of belonging personally, think, reflect, and try to understand what those reasons are. Sometimes the behaviour of others irritates us, some experiences hurt resulting in going into the capsule and feeling of loneliness. Belonging has psychological and health benefits.

We are, after all, surrounded by many others to link with. We have a lot of opportunities to connect with each other. Yet, most of us know the agony of non-belonging. It is like a music chair, like turning around during a “game of musical chairs” and finding no place to sit.  In the brain, the social pain of severed belonging shares neural substrates with physical pain, while in body and mind it can leave a trail of adverse consequences.

How do you increase the sense of belonging?

There are four elements where you can foster the feeling of belonging. As part of our dynamic social systems, those elements interact and influence each other throughout our lifespans. (Kelly-Ann Allen who is an expert in society and professor in Monash University along with his team, wrote the article based on his research, “Belonging: a review of conceptual issues, an integrative framework, and directions for future research.”

The good news, according to Kelly-Ann, is that a sense of belonging can be nurtured and strengthened. We can develop our social, emotional, and cultural skills. We can become more self-aware. We can learn to regulate our emotions more constructively and communicate more effectively. We can align with our values more authentically and connect better to people, places, and our surrounding systems. 

Those elements are,

Competencies: This starts with the question; do we have the right skills and capabilities needed to relate with others. Other skills and competencies are about your ability to resolve conflict, regulate your emotions, and utilise your psychological assets like empathy and kindness can go a long way toward building relationships. These social and emotional competencies are core skills when it comes to building belonging.

Opportunities: It means how you are finding common interest areas and interest to join the groups and platforms. Are you engaging with others online (during the pandemic) and offline?

Motivations: We all have the need to belong, however the motivation to fulfil this need can vary from person to person. Are you truly motivated to belong, to connect with others, and to feel like a part of the surrounding systems? If the answer is a resounding yes, then you’ll more likely seek opportunities for connection.

Perceptions: People observe us and based on our experiences; we create perceptions about each other. Perceptions about belonging can influence how we feel and behave. Behaviours that we demonstrate are crucial in creating perceptions. Understand those behaviours and reflect what those behaviours are, we need to demonstrate so that people include you. Also think that are those factors which make you feel included, accepted, and valued?
"Sense of belonging is important in our life. It keeps us connected to others, however mindfulness is understanding how we are connected with ourselves. The better connection is being connected with the inner self. When you relate to your inner self, you find the purpose and then a sense of belonging comes naturally."  

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 


Nitin Shinde said...

New Learning. Some i Have, some i need to develop.

Unknown said...

Superb thoughts

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