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Cultivating Connection and Belonging

Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown.

Connection and belonging can have a profound impact on mental health, overall well-being, and our development of self. The desire to connect and belong is a crucial part of what makes us human. When we don’t feel like we belong, we do not feel safe. This can create a ripple effect for a person, leading to isolation and loneliness, which can lead to a downfall within our own personal health system. So, how do we cultivate connection and belonging for ourselves? In order to counter the effects of disconnection, we need to take an active approach to reconnecting with ourselves, our communities, and the world around us.

Connecting with your personal self is checking in on how you are doing in multiple aspects of your life. Checking in with your body, mind, spirit, emotional self, energy levels, etc. This allows for a deeper connection and better understanding of what your personal needs might be. Taking a deep dive into understanding what your personal values are and how these values show up for you in your everyday life. By checking in with ourselves, we can make adjustments to personal areas that are causing us harm, stress, or feelings of unhappiness. On the other hand, we can also continue to strengthen and focus on areas that bring us warmth and inner peace.

Finding connection and belonging within the community is also an important piece of sustainability. Community can be defined in various ways. For some, seeking connection through community may mean seeking out those at work, church, school, extracurricular activities, etc. It is connecting with others in shared experiences that bring us closer to each other and can provide deeper meaning in our relationships through the connections we make inside our community. Lastly, seeking out connection and belonging from the world allows a person to feel a connection on a macro-level. While connection and belonging at a personal/community level focus on micro-level relationships, humans also need to feel connected on a macro level. Connecting with nature, giving back to a global organization, traveling, etc. are different ways one might connect back with the world. When we seek out belonging and connection, it provides meaning and purpose and a sense of “I matter” into the world. When we feel like we matter, it has widespread positive outcomes that transcend through ourselves, community, and the world around us.

Author: Emma Harding

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