Never Underestimate Belonging

Yesterday, I spent time with some of my most beloved people. Then, while driving home, I found myself reflecting on how I felt afterward, including how I felt physically.

We often say things like, “Oh, that just fed my spirit,” or “That really lifted my spirits.” All of that is true, but these kind of experiences are ultimately embodied. We feel physically enriched when we’ve been in the presence of people we love.

Never underestimate belonging.

Then, during the drive home, I listened to a podcast episode of Hidden Brain, entitled, The Lonely American Man. This is a very important episode. It delves into research and a number personal stories that reveal the cultural socialization of boys and men to shut down emotions and cease language of intimacy in their own connections with one another. Ultimately, this leads to painful forms of isolation, impacting physical and mental health.

The opposite is true as well. The episode also gives examples of what is possible when we cultivate spaces for boys and men to be vulnerable, emotional, and connectional with others.

Never underestimate belonging.

This then reminded me of an important TED Talk by Susan Pinker. It’s entitled, The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life. Susan Pinker discusses research revealing how small interactions with acquaintances and unknown neighbors can have a large impact on health and wellness.

Never underestimate belonging.

We are living in an era of social upheaval. Anxieties and tensions are higher, and in the midst of these, people are working for collective change and greater safety. That work often requires disruption of systems and confrontation of forces that are doing harm. This is all vital.

But also, never forget that it is a radical, transformative act to cultivate spaces where people can belong –

where people can feel at home –

in their bodies, in their relationships, in their communities, in their callings, and in their purpose, toward collective purpose.

Never ever underestimate belonging.

Renee Roederer

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