A core need of being human is to have a sense of belonging, and a way of connecting with others and our world. We are social animals. We rely on each other for our existence. We belong to community not just to meet our social needs, but also to meet our needs for survival. While some grow food, others build houses and roads, another provides health care, some teach our children and others collect our rubbish. We need each other, pure and simple, to live the lives we lead.
The need to belong and have connection runs very deep. Many of our subconsciousbehaviours are driven by this need to belong and connect, and sabotages to healing destructive behaviours can often be linked back to our means of connecting.
Mary* had been coming to see me regularly in clinic. However progress was slow, and when one symptom resolved, another would pop up or an old one would return. It appeared that she needed to be sick. I eventually realised that Mary connected with her friends and her family by getting together and talking about their ailments. Mary, in a spark of awareness stated, “If I’m well, I won’t have anything to talk about, and I’ll be all alone”. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but the subconscious was sabotaging her attempts to get well, because the need to belong was stronger than the need to be healthy. Once Mary made this connection consciously, she could start to work on ways to build connections and relationships through positive, affirming behaviour, and her subconscious allowed her body to heal. (*name changed)
We’ve seen this need manifest in various ways. Does the idea of you catching up with friends without being able to have a drink make you anxious? We so often see the need to belong being the driving force behind maintaining drug and alcohol dependency because of the social connections these behaviours maintain. Do you know there a things you want to be and do but have so much trouble putting them into practice? The need to belong can be a giant stumbling block that prevents someone from living the profound self-realisations they’ve had in their healing session because of the fear of the relationships they may lose in the process. We can often fear putting into practice our beliefs, especially if they're new for us, for fear of losing our family or friends whose connection with us is dependent on who we used to be and not who we are becoming.
There is great risk in change because we can not know what the change will bring and what we may lose as a result. If the subconscious feels it's sense of belonging being threatened, it will fight to maintain the old way.
On any path to healing, personal growth and happiness, acknowledging this need and how we fulfil it is an important step for all. Take a moment to write down all the ways you get your need for connection and belonging fulfilled. Write down all of your important relationships, and then the key qualities you use to connect with those relationships. So;
Who/what do you have a relationship with?
How do you connect in that relationship? What are the unspoken rules?
How do you feel about what you see before you? Do your relationships and connections honour your true self? Or do you see places where you compromise yourself to maintain connection?
There are two relationships which we hope are on your list, and if not add them now. These two relationships need to be the foundation stones between which you align all other connections.
The first is your relationship with yourself. Be your imperfectly perfect self, and honour and love yourself for it. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you conform and belong to a homogenised image of what you should be, find the courage to keep being your awesome, unique self. Belong to yourself.
The second is the relationship you have beyond all other relationships, the connection you have through all other connections. It is the intimate and heart-based relationship you have with the Divine Creative Spirit. We are all a part of the Divine. We all belong because we cannot ‘not belong’. You are part of the Divine: come to know yourself as such. You belong to life because you are life. Breathe this knowing into your heart and remember it every day, until every breath you take is in honour and knowing of this sacred belonging you have to the Divine.
Above all be courageous, be mindful, be compassionate toward yourself and keep moving forward. You will eventually get there and you will learn so much along the way.