1. We need connection
We are a social species and we thrive in deep and rich connections with other human beings. It is built into our DNA. When we feel lonely, we feel, that we are not experiencing connection.
“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
2. There are two major traps on the way to connection.
Because our need for connection is so strong, we try very hard to acquire it. And we often go into two traps: Fitting in and seeking approval.
Fitting in is when we tell ourselves: “Be perfect, be nice, don’t show mistakes or your idiosyncracies. Then you will be accepted.”
True belonging, however only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.
We have that strong urge to belong to something larger than us, so sometimes we request from others that they show us that we are OK and worthy to have a seat at the table. But looking for external validation is a dangerous trap. If we are always checking if others think that we are OK, we live in constant worry that we might not be enough the way we are. What will give us peace instead is self-acceptance.
3. How to build love & belonging
An essential truth to understand is that we are all worthy of love & belonging, it is our human birthright. As much as we deserve water and food, we also deserve love & belonging. All of us. Starting from that conviction, we can make us onto our path towards more and more self-acceptance. This is important. Because our level of self-acceptance is the lid as to how great our sense of belonging can be. As much as we accept ourselves, we are willing to present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. And as much we can truly be seen and known. And valued for who we are.
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”- Brené Brown
One of the most amazing discoveries I have made is that love is something that we cultivate.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them — we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and infrequent.”- Brené Brown