“I am you, you are me, and we are all together.” ~ John Lennon
I want to belong, to be part of! A large part of this need to belong is about survival. We come into physical existence totally dependent on others for food, for protection from danger and the elements, without which we die, and for nurturing, laughter, smiles, and play, without which we cannot thrive!
So, we strive in good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy ways to connect. When we feel “out” of a group, or of the norm, we feel our existence is threatened. So, we try to alter our appearances, conversations, beliefs, and even our humor “to fit” with what we perceive as the “in” group that can most assure we survive both physically and emotionally. We may also use sharing food, affection, sex, and other pleasures, as well as convivial mood altering substances, not just for their innate satisfactions, but in order to belong. Sometimes these things work and are successful, but these activities sometimes can turn into obsessions, compulsions, addictions, sociopathic behaviors, hatred of ‘out’ group members, and mistreatment of our own bodies, minds, and hearts.
I find that ultimately in order to feel that I belong, I need to be with others, just as I am, in my messiness, vulnerability, and ordinariness, as well as my sensuality, spirituality, empathy and intellect. These are my asks (pleas) to my loved ones, to my congregation, to my country, and to the Spirit(s) of Life I find connections with. The more I belong in this sense, the more I receive what I need in my life and the more I realize my inherent worth and dignity.
May we here at UUCG and in our other personal and social groups, share our experiences and explorations in how we do this.
~ Daniel Bailey