Finding a sense of belonging

Each one of us needs to feel appreciated and understood; we all need help

JEAN VANIER,  Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian in his novel "Becoming Human"

Wellbeing and a sense of belonging go hand in hand. When we talk about belonging, we express it as a feeling of being an important member of a group. Without the feeling of belonging there is no wellbeing, also known as the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. It is normal to struggle sometimes when it comes to finding a connection, but there are ways to build a sense of belonging!

Belonging creates a sense of empowerment that allows us to overcome obstacles and bounce back. The feeling of belonging is often perceived as a basic need because it motivates us and allows us to feel safe. When it comes to a new environment, it can be hard to feel like you are a part of it. With active effort and patience, creating a sense of belonging is achievable.

students sitting together watching lake sunset

How to build a sense of belonging

  • Concentrate on ways you are similar to others rather than what makes you different from them
  • Work on accepting people even if they have different ideas and beliefs than your own
  • Say yes to opportunities that help you meet other people
  • Find a fun social group through a community with common interests such as clubs on campus
  • Volunteer to deepen your connection to the community by finding a volunteer position you are passionate about
  • Build stronger relationships with those you are close to by calling them to connect or making plans to meet up
  • Find people you are comfortable with rather than trying to become more likable by a certain group

A sense of belonging won’t come overnight. Keep practising these tips and remember to be kind to yourself. If you feel like you need extra support, contact Counselling Services at 519-888-4567 ext. 32655.

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