How to build a sense of belonging

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Longing to belong

Humans are fascinating creatures. We come in all shapes and sizes, from different ethnicities with different beliefs and attitudes, however there are some things we have in common no matter what race, gender or religion we are. All humans have three basic human psychological needs: relatedness, competence and autonomy.

Relatedness is our innate need to belong. We’re simply neurologically and psychologically wired to want to feel significant to others, be included as part of a group and be loved. A sense of belonging connects us to our tribe. Our tribe are the people we interact with most and learn from, including family, friends, teachers and the wider ‘Village’ in which we grow.

It’s no surprise following Covid there has been a sense of desire to rebuild the village. The question is how do we do this?

Nathan Wallis, Neuroscientist and child development expert explains “We get a sense of belonging from knowing who we are, where we’re from, where we stand in the world, the people we are related to.” We feel belonging by understanding what land that we come from, the language we speak and the stories we are told.

Why is it important to create a sense of belonging?

A sense of belonging early in life is essential to develop empathy, emotional regulation and higher cortical functioning such as thinking, decision making, communication and building strong relationships.

When we experience division or exclusion, a core human need isn’t being met. This can present itself in less positive ways such as bullying or loneliness, two of the biggest social diseases of the modern world.

Things we can do:

Creating a sense of belonging is simple and quick. Do these things regularly to connect with strangers: A simple smile, wave, hug or simple act of kindness or complement is enough to help someone feel they matter.

Do these things regularly with friends: Take time to connect in person, ask questions, listen and share stories and complements.

Try these things with your Little Learners: Be at their eye level, involve yourself in what they enjoy doing, ask questions and share stories from your childhood and most of all listen and respond.

It’s not hard to create connections. Afterall, we’re all human and humans naturally long to belong.


The importance of strong bonds with our Little Learners

Why do Humans long to belong?

Appreciate the people around you

Main Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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