moving people from diversity and difference toward Inclusion and Belonging!

Why You Long to Belong

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From the beginning of the human experience, we have used creative expression – drawings, paintings, scribbling – on rocks and caves and stone – to state our presence, make our mark, leave some trace of legacy, meeting an innate need to say, “I am here! Look who’s with me. We belong!” While we may meet that instinctive need very differently nowadays, we don’t all do so purposefully, meaningfully and deliberately in our families and organisations. 

It is clear and established through neuroscience research that the need to experience belonging is a basic human need. It is as fundamental as our need to eat, sleep, play and procreate. Yet, from a very young age, we can experience disconnection from others that leaves us in a state of longing for reconnection, affiliation and belonging. 

We each have different experiences and memories of childhood that we interpret from an innate human need for love, trust, and care. For every child, the interpretation of events are myopic as we do not see a picture of concerns bigger than our very our own. After all, the world of a child is usually limited to ourselves, our parents or caregivers. 

I recall as a very young child watching my grandmothers interact with my siblings that they had each selected a favourite that they doted on, and I was not one. Perhaps this was the start of an inner conversation of not belonging that I found ever more evidence for as I grew up. So of course, I adapted to what I believed my world needed of me, to experience degrees of approval, love and acceptance. 

I also became aware that I lived in a system of racial discrimination, that our social system was designed to create poverty for some and privilege for others. I experienced new levels of being shut out, silenced and not belonging. Being limited to certain spaces, events and opportunities and excluded from others, not only impacted my trajectory in life, but it also fueled my indignation and drive for social justice activism.

Later, having invested in my own development, challenged my own paradigms and lived in and travelled through various cultures around the world, I’ve equipped myself with world class credentials, creating a global consultancy that serves to cultivate cultures and experiences of inclusion and belonging for others. 

You are not that different to me. Every human being has had similar but different experiences that displaced your innate sense of belonging. Some project aggression to reclaim it. Others withdraw quietly or play peace-maker, ignoring their own needs. 

Without actively learning about the origin of our disconnection, and rewriting our narratives of division and exclusion, we will always long for belonging when, in fact, we can co-create it!

But it IS a CREATIVE journey, one in which you are invited to envision, write, enact new ways of being in the world that sing out -

I am here. I matter. I belong.

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