Ep. 27: Belonging

Thank you, Emily Esfahani Smith, for your book,

The Power of Meaning,

and thank you to Richa Thapa

for recommending the read.

This ditty and the three that follow will give you my take

on experiencing a meaningful life.


I say EXPERIENCING a meaningful life, because

it's not a fact you can point to.


'Meaningful' is an adjective, therefore not a fact.

It is subjective.


Which is fantastic news, because it's something we CHOOSE.

We cannot changes a lot of facts in the world,

but we do have some control over what

we think about them.


Of course, of course,

I am not advocating mental lies

to make us feel blissful.

But if two things are true, and one is helpful,

we have a choice which one to live by.


Emily says there are four legs

that contribute to a Meaningful Life.

A sense of belonging to a group is the first leg.


Researchers have found people are more successful when they

have a community with others

that share a common goal.


Community is how we survived historically.

Staying in the herd was a safety measure.

The primitive brain has not changed all that much.

If we don't belong to a group, it feels dangerous.

Like an emergency.


As kids, we naturally labelled ourselves and everyone else,

and became critical of others,

and felt safe in our group, even if it was a group of two.

Many of us didn't have a group, and defaulted to

the misfits lunch table.


It is still a very natural reaction to think in terms of

Us and Them.

Orthodox and A La Carte.

Believer and Non-Believer.

Lean and Curvy.

Black, Brown and White.

Liberal and Conservative.


I want this to be more helpful than

a statement of our divisions.

Yes, we naturally Divide.

We are natural Dividers.


Belonging is about finding your people and

creating a Meaningful Life with them.

Its about the Experience of knowing

that someone has your back

and you have theirs.


As healthier adults, we also can Choose

to not use this Belonging

against another human.


Appreciate and be so grateful for our own groups,

for the home we find with them

AND

not be harsh to other groups

and the home they find there.


Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.


Community can help us reach our goals.

Community moves social progress.

A community can feel safe, comfortable and trusting

AND

can become manipulative or damaging.

Of course.

Because humans can be that way.


At a gathering, we look to find our group.

The athletic, the intelligent, the accomplished or wealthy.

Narcissists scan a room for outsiders to groom,

while a few intentionally scan

to be friendly,

to start a conversation with an intent to include and love,

hoping to relieve loneliness.


Might I suggest a mind shift from the child brain:

who will accept me?

to the adult question of: who will I accept?


Part two: if you won't accept someone, please like your reasons.

Because all of us want to belong.

Let us ask ourselves, "by dividing, who am I hurting?"


I leave you with a tune: Come Together, by The Beatles, released the year I was born.