Sense of Belonging
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I would like to write about this topic since I realized that it has become a serious topic nowadays, at least in my never-stop-thinking head of mine. Of course, my eagerness about writing this didn’t appear just like that. I have run into several phenomenons which successfully brings me out to a conclusion that: people do depend on their sense of belonging of something to do such things over other things, or in short: people, consciously or not, use their sense of belonging. Why did I say, ‘consciously or not’? Is there a probability of not realizing what they are doing? Yep, it psychologically may have happened.
A sense of belonging simply means an acceptance as a natural member of something. If we talk about this, it means that a sense of belonging provides a close and secure relationship. I can see that happiness is involved there. To begin my analysis, I’d like to say that, dear readers, this is about acceptance and happiness which are two things that make us human. Basically, they will drive us to do something. You know, even a schizophrenic trait could spring out by denial: it is that acceptance-absence situation, towards its patient. Sounds awful.
A pervasive human concern is establishing and maintaining relatedness to others, social institutions, environments, and the self. One component of connecting one’s self into the fabric of surrounding people, places, and things is a sense of belonging. Furthermore, a psychology expert, Anant, said that a sense of belonging is a sense of personal involvement in a social system so that persons feel themselves to be an indispensible and integral part of the system.
See? As a homo socius species, it is a logical consequence that we need a sense of belonging. It is very significant.
Let us step back to the social system we formed our own community, or any what-so-called group of people that (should) share a similar vision with us. We are a group. We are going to work together, talk to each other, help one another, and do many things together. Have you ever thought that sometimes it’s kind of hard to do those things, even with the people in your own group? I felt like that. I have some reasons, such as: “I have no time to do that”, “Oh I am sorry, I am lazy”, or “I will, but suddenly there’s something much more important I had to do besides that thing”, or even this so-frontal-statement, “Ah, I think that’s not really important to me”. (Guess what, I was about to give up at that time, a second after hearing that reason). Are you sure, those all are the only reasons? I am not.
Through my research, this is simply about a sense of belonging. Are you sure that other people have had a sense of belonging in your group? Have we made them feel integrated or not? Alright, I think my previous paragraphs have been enough to let us start thinking, talking, and analysing the importance of a sense of belonging, if you agree, and if that it is important.
I will continue my writing with these three points: 1) Sense of belonging. Is that practiced or has it been existed since Megaliticum era? 2) Sense of belonging. Started from us or other people? 3) Sense of belonging. Now or never? According to its definition, I’d rather say that a sense of belonging may show as a practiced thing, it is started from both of us and other people (in our group), I mean, it is a two-way relationship, and it is now.
My point is not about a routine activity to grow a sense of belonging, as a word ‘practice’ means. Based on a literature review and analysis of interviews and focus group data, some psychologists have derived two defining attributes of sense of belonging: (1) the person experiences being valued, needed, or important with respect to other people, groups, objects, organizations, environments, or spiritual dimensions; and (2) the person experiences a fit or congruence with other people, groups, objects, organizations, environments, or spiritual dimensions through shared or complementary characteristics.
Let me explain!
There are two kinds of people in this analysis. The mature one and the others. Before being formed and united in a group, we ourselves surely have different characters, different perspectives, different way of reacting, different selfishness (haha) and other differences that may make me waste my time to write them. So, when we are about to be ‘induced’ to share our differences in a group that consists of many people, it undoubtly causes a little collision between our egotistical nature and other people’s needs. A collision is, in my opinion, something that will be an obstacle of gaining a sense of belonging. But, that collision doesn’t only cause something negative such as a dissent, but also a positive impact. As we interact with other people, we finally think that they have something we haven’t had yet. Hey, I am not talking about jealousy. It just means that, they may have a chance to complete us, or inspire us, so we can move our feet further, fly our wings wider. But, we need enough maturity to experience that positive impact. So, it becomes our work to teach our persons in group how to gain maturity at this level. The key is humility. Then, we can throw a collision away from being an obstacle to gain a sense of belonging.
Here is what I mean with ‘practice’: We need to behave well towards others and also have good skills to communicate and to relate to if we want to make people feel they are at home in our group. We have to be creative too. Creativity means, never giving up once we found that we’re about to fail. By answering this, I also would like to say that a sense of belonging should be built by other people first (and by another person I mean, the one who is more mature than the others). Like, what do you expect from anyone who hasn’t got this maturity thing?
Sense of belonging as a concept is often used interchangeably with social integration. In a longitudinal study, Hurtado and Carter explored a set of factors associated with sense of belonging, concluding that these were essential contributors to people persistence. By including a separate measure of sense of belonging, researchers are able to examine both the participation in particular activities and what that participation means to people. Following this it can be argued that sense of belonging taps into feelings or perceptions of association or group membership. The way to practice is the way to involve. People with great involvement in a group will feel that they are needed in that group, will think that the group belongs to them, because they’re the ones who hold the steer and naturally feel responsible to where they and their group will go. By involving people to do something in our group, we actually practice them to have a sense of belonging to our group. So, this is related to communication: how we know to involve them depends on how we build our relationship with them.
Lastly, when is it the right time to feel a sense of belonging? Right now of course. A group that lacks people with a great sense of belonging won’t go anywhere. You will only find tiredness. No great work achieved. No growth. No self-improvement.
Well, if you are the ones who have realized that you feel happy when doing something to your group, congratulations, you have gained a sense of belonging. Make every effort to properly ‘practice’ your people skills so that they feel happy too. But, if you’re the ones that still do not get this writing, and fortunately realize that you haven’t had a sense of belonging to any group or society you’re in, think twice and let yourself be humble enough to learn how.
Talking about a sense of belonging is talking about something where we belong in which unity is needed to finally do the vision in togetherness. Because a sense of belonging shall define how united we are, eventually.