We often say that we are feeling lonely but yet we don’t want to be with with people. And it brings psychological discomfort in some way or another. Do you know why?
It is due to the absence of belongingness. The need to belong is an ideology that motivates people and fosters growth overtime. The need to belong is not only a sociological concept but a fact for human survival. It means that humans ought to establish relations with like-minded people or people in which they feel a sense of belongingness.
The Background of the Need to Belong
How do humans come to know of such necessity? As we all know, humans are the most challenging creatures to analyze. Psychologists study for years to explore different characteristics of a human’s personality. The psychological history of belongingness developed overtime. Sigmund Freud was among one of the psychologists who emphasized the recognition of the need itself. It stated that humans are inclined towards any relationship based on their sex drive. Another psychologist John Bowlby, conducted different experiments to conclude that the need to belong is a unique and significant part of human life. His attachment theory states that a person’s early relationships lay the foundation for future relationships and how he or she will react to people’s feelings.
Due to this reason, when a person has a scarring childhood, he may not be able to form lasting and trusting relationships in the future.
The need to belong comes from ancestral history. Earlier, the hunter-gatherers or scavengers used to move in groups rather than alone. It helped them to survive efficiently and against life-threatening situations. The basic idea lies in the individuality of each person. Each person is different and possesses a different set of skills and ideas.
People with similar ideologies form communities that help them grow, where they can have their difference of opinion while appreciating others.
Significance of the Need to Belong:
The way to understand the significance of belongingness is to see what happens when the need is unmet. Many researchers have conducted social experiments to observe what happens to a person when he is alone, pretty much the same as what happens when you do not get food or water.
The research shows that there is a cognitive need to be fulfilled. It is an essential component of the mind. Secondly, emotions shape a person’s ideologies. Let us illustrate an example,
If you are left or excluded from a college group or a group you used to hang out with, you would feel an array of negative emotions. Even a child left alone starts to cry the minute he is left alone. The sense of belongingness brings you the assurance that you are a part of something. Which consequently brings confidence and positive feelings.
A sense of belonging is of paramount importance in one’s life. The struggle with loneliness and able to not fit in can distort someone’s personality. But if you have not found your root of feelings and belongingness, that does not mean that there is nobody like you out here. It is a matter of time and exploration. You could always explore and find your community. You can reach out to a mental health professional in extreme cases of isolation. Find people and groups that share your interests
Remember, someone is waiting for someone like you. Explore and find yours.
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I believe in living life in a simple yet fulfilling stratosphere. Simple doesn't mean denying yourself of all the great things that life has to offer. Life was meant to be lived on your own terms and not on someone else's. It is about you.