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How do I want to belong?


I'm busy writing a longer, more detailed piece, 1) but meanwhile I was deeply struck by some life reflections … One of my deep recurrent feelings is of not belonging. Where do I truly belong? With whom do I truly belong? I didn't feel I properly belonged to my family of origin; at school I only felt a sense of belonging between ages 13 to 18 (and that intellectually, more than emotionally); and in my adult life I've been chasing belonging with a recurring sense of elusiveness.

I sense this is a very widespread feeling for many others as well. If it is so widespread, can I do something to help others find people they belong with; causes they belong to?

Starting with the basics, it looks like deep connection between people can lead to a sense of belonging together; and where that connection is felt to be missing something vital, the sense of belonging simply isn't there. Perhaps this echoes experiences in early life, where a basic sense of belonging in this world is either formed or not. I see this as rather different from the psychological processes reacting to imperfect parenting. People sometimes unconsciously look for a partner who offers the promise of doing better in relationship with them than a parent did. That can be unrealistic, problematic even. In contrast, I see it often happening that an adult sense of belonging can surpass the childish sense of belonging in a family, kinship group or tribe.

There's one more vital step that I see. The sense of belonging has to dig into our ikigai, to be rooted and grounded there, for the sense of belonging to take root and be established and fruitful. So the key step to take this forward in the best way is to connect deeply over vision; over purpose; over meaning; over shared healing narratives for the world. I would wish everyone to be making deep connections that are rich in ikigai.

What do I mean by “the sense of belonging has to dig into the ikigai”, as there seems to be a lot to unpack there?

I mean, a sense of belonging can be grounded in many ways, some less deep, some deeper. Many people in our present world have a sense of belonging based on more or less superficial identity. And that seems to me unfruitful. Worse: often I see it bringing a lot of unhealthy conflict, violence, etc.

But my way of thinking about ikigai, (back in 2021-11-30 and 2021-12-10) envisages the greater potential of the individual working in harmony with the greater potential of the collective that he or she is part of. This is not so different from other things many of us write about, just with my own angle, perspective, starting point and conceptual structure.

When we connect deeply about all these aspects that are covered by ikigai – e.g. what we love to do; what we are good at; what can be resourced; what the wider world needs – I see it as that belonging-in-purpose that truly binds us together, and where the true power emerges. Or, following my more elaborate diagram of 6 interlocking circles, where collective being and collective doing emerge from the intersection of collective vision and collective work. In what I was writing back then, it is the collective that most of all helps us to achieve our personal ikigai-in-community — collective ikigai.

And the other connection to my current thinking, writing and conversation involves healing narrative. If we connect deeply over worthy healing narratives, and then join together in coherent action in full awareness of the present situation interpreted in terms of that common healing narrative, I believe we have the potential for a deeply rooted, highly meaningful sense of belonging. And it is, indeed, that sense of belonging that I am yearning for — and that is far beyond the collegiate sense of belonging I had at school from 13 to 18.

What can I do? Well, naturally, I see this happening through my work on ReGenMatch and CHOICE. My dream is to belong to a small community where our collective ikigai is to make this possible, along with other parts of the dream, brought by others.

see also

I continue this line of enquiry on 2024-03-24.

It's probably to be called something like “Both-ways CHOICE in publication and messaging”, but I'll link to it here when I'm done.
d/2024-03-22.txt · Last modified: 2024-04-22 09:13 by simongrant