When I looked up the term “Belonging” yesterday…the word “Belonginess” was right beside it. (I don’t ever recollect using that term but, instead, using belonging to cover everything that went with its definition.)
“Belonginess” expands the term….Webster dictionary defines it as:
Belongingness is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans tend to have an ‘inherent’ desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give, and receive attention to, and from, others.
I have noticed while watching my grandchildren grow and interact with their peers in pre-schools and now elementary grades that finding and having at least one friend or friends is the most important thing in a child’s life. Feeling left out is the most terrible feeling of all. “Belonginess” trumps grades, teacher approval, good behavior awards…it is the deciding factor whether a child likes school or not.
Again and again as we watch senseless acts of violence on television we can almost guess, before the research into the instigator’s life is revealed, that the culprit was probably a loner, angry at society for his non-acceptance by others… and finally taking out on society what he perceives as his peers and even the universe’s rejection of him.
Belonginess is essential in our life!
Well-known psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary argue that belongingness is such a fundamental human motivation that we feel severe consequences of not belonging. If it wasn’t so fundamental, then lack of belonging wouldn’t have such dire consequences on society. This desire is so universal that the need to belong is found across all cultures and different types of people.
When “Poppy” (Mr. Dingle) died a few years ago, Eva Cate (in blue) was still pretty little and didn’t quite understand what his funeral service was all about…but she learned something new she didn’t know and she was so delighted.
The whole Dingle “clan” of children and young people were told to sit on the stage in the reception room where adults could figure out (in many cases for the first time) the names of all the cousins and who they belonged to…while snapping photos rapidly for posterity.
Eva Cate beamed and beamed when she realized that all these new “friends” were actually family and she belonged in that family with all of them. It was that sense of belonging to something bigger than herself that had her in a state of euphoria. (I think Poppy would have loved that…)
*Eva Cate told me a few months ago that she was lonely before Jakie came….she liked having a brother. And to think we thought the “Queen” would not be happy sharing the family with another sibling…instead she wanted a bigger family and she got little brother Jakie.
We only have to look at nature to realize that interdependence is the glue that holds life, as we know it, together on our planet. Without any of God’s other creations we would feel the effect, the loss through invisible ties to everything on this planet.
Michele Robertson sent me a devotional she came across the other day and thought I would enjoy reading it since I mention interdependence and my firm belief in it regularly on the blog. Here are a few fascinating excerpts from the article.
Connection: The Truth of Interdependence by Madisyn Taylor
A leaf transforms the elements of its environment—sunlight, carbon dioxide, rain—into nourishment for its tree. This beautiful, nearly weightless, ephemeral piece of nature is a vital conduit to the branch that is a conduit to the trunk that is a conduit to the roots of the tree. The roots, in turn, draw nourishment from the earth to feed the trunk, the branches, and the leaves.
The living beings that inhale the oxygen that comes from this process exhale the carbon dioxide that feeds the leaves through which the tree is fed. It is difficult to know where one cycle ends and another one begins.
One of the many gifts that nature offers us is a clear demonstration of the interdependence between all living things. The person who exhales the carbon dioxide, the clouds that produce the rain, the sun that gives light, the leaf that transforms all these things into sustenance for a tree—not one of these could survive without being part of this cycle.
Each living being is dependent upon other living things for its survival. When we look at the world, we see that this is not a place where different beings survive independently of one another. Earth is home to a web of living things that are connected to each other through a spinning kaleidoscope of relationships. We need each other to survive and thrive.
Surely there is a reason that God made our very survival dependent on everything and everyone He created in this beautiful world! We aren’t meant to go it alone without the help of friends, family, and supporters.
Albert Einstein once said: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more man!
To me the saddest part about people’s lives who do feel alone and not connected is that no one told them that every single person’s life is important in the big picture of eternity….we, each, have a role to play, a piece of the puzzle that won’t fit if we don’t contribute our talents to it to help others. We are never alone…God won’t let us be if we just reach out to Him for friendship and unconditional love.
So until tomorrow…let us always tell the people who share our time on earth to “lean on me” and I will “lean on you.” Together we can make a difference.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
*Last year, 2015, brought two new “strollers” to the race….it was Jakie’s and Lachlan’s first Race for the Cure! (The year before Jakie was just three weeks old and missed it….so he and Lachlan got to experience their first race together.)
*Again, thank you all who have contributed thus far to our team “Legally Pink” …We are excited about participating, even more so this year with the sudden re-appearance of recent health challenges…but again I think of the interdependence of the medical world I live in….from the researchers, to the market, to the doctors and nurses, to the patient, to his/her family and friends…we are all people living with cancer, whether within our own bodies or through the bodies of friends and family we care about.
My t-shirt last year will be worn again this year because its message is universally sound.
And of course the last link always connects back to God…the perfect circle of love. And that is why we walk, we run, we skip and hop at the Race for the Cure...so we can give families a chance to keep love alive!
***RACE FOR THE CURE – Saturday, 10/15/16. Gates open at 7:00. Participate in a morning filled with hope, love and strength as we lace up to run breast cancer out of town!
To mail in a donation, please make checks payable to:
Susan G. Komen® Lowcountry
50 Folly Road Blvd. | Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: (843) 556-8011