From the time we are born, we yearn to feel like we belong. It is a fundamental need that we all have. So, what does it mean to belong? Belonging can convey a sense of security in friendships or a relationship. It is based on attachments, a sense of inclusion, and acceptance of someone. This feeling is vital because it makes people feel more or less valued, heard, and appreciated for who they are and what they have to offer.
Feeling a sense of belonging in the school setting is invaluable. Students who experience a sense of belonging at school are more on task, motivated, and respect themselves and others. If a student can say they understand who they are, have a place where they feel accepted, and know their contributions count, then they have a strong sense of belonging.
Belonging is felt both physically and mentally. One of the advantages of having a sense of belonging is that it binds us physically with our families and allows others to help us during the hard times in our lives. Also, it develops our mental attachment to those we love. Most importantly, belonging can decrease depression, anxiety, and suicide when we feel more stressed. Therefore, a sense of belonging is crucial for students and parents alike.
There are several ways in which someone can increase a sense of belonging, according to Mayo Clinic psychotherapist Angela Theisen.
1. Make an effort.
2. Be mindful of others.
3. Keep and teach an open mind.
4. Practice an attitude of acceptance.
5. Validate others.
When we all understand the importance of a sense of belonging, we can help each other feel valued.