As humans, we feel a strong need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. This is because belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being. Many sociological and psychological studies have investigated the sense of community. One of its definitions is as follows: “Feelings that members have of belonging, of bonding with each other and with the group, of shared trust that their own needs and that of others are satisfied through the common commitment.” McMillan and Chavis .
Since the beginnings of time humans have formed communities in order to feel a part of something. We can say for sure that we are the sum of the people around us and this means that depending on the people who are involved in the community our life can be better or worse.
“By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier. ” Susan Lieberman
Most of the time we want to surround ourselves with driven people who are interesting, have a positive view, and are focused on changing the world for the better.
Being in a group, belonging to a community, feeling part of a club, a team or a movement helps us to live better. In spite of the individualistic drives, knowing how to feel good with others, therefore developing a sense of belonging, is fundamental for the growth of the individual, of the young person and of the adult. We are still social animals, we are made to live in relationship, we need to feel useful, to be accepted, we improve and learn in comparison with others.
In the group each one can experience the advantages of cooperation and support, of unity and strength. Feeling the importance of one’s role, of one’s contribution to the group can only increase our self-esteem. Connecting with other people means accepting the rules for being in a group, having to ask, being able to listen, taking responsibility, feeling obliged, facing conflict, taking on roles, facing a judgment.
Being part of a community is also good for our mental health because it provides a source of fun, support and friendship. It’s a huge part of life, finding those people that you want to spend your time with. The sense of community is important in strengthening, uniting and coping with the events that can affect the entire community as well as the individual.
Here are 3 reasons why it is important to be part of a community:
1. Inspiration and motivation– in a strong community you can easily find someone that is doing something amazing and can inspire you.
2. Shared lessons – you can reach out to the community and find out if anyone has had an experience that could be valuable to you, rather than having to learn from your own mistakes or successes.
3. Contacts – in life and in business you are always in need of people who can support you. When you are part of a community it is highly likely that someone you know will be able to make an introduction for you.
Find the communities that you can best belong to. Learn to both give and take!