The anatomy of belonging from Psychology Today
Belonging is a fundamental psychological need that can be nurtured with various skills and practices.
A recent meta-framework outlines four key components of belonging: competencies, opportunities, motivations, and perceptions.
Simple nature-connectedness practices can bring more well-being, belonging, and meaning to our lives.
For a fundamental psychological need, belonging is full of paradoxes. We search for it everywhere—in the arms of kin, on familiar streets, among friends with similar beliefs. Yet, there it is—in solitude, in literature, among magnificent trees. Belonging anchors our hearts to our nests. Yet, there it goes—unfastening our wings and setting us free on our quests.
In psychology, belonging has been defined as “a subjective feeling that one is an integral part of their surrounding systems, including family, friends, school, work environments, communities, cultural groups, and physical places” (Hagerty et al., 1992). Belonging, as poet John O’Donohue writes, “suggests warmth, understanding, and embrace.” Lois Bushong, therapist and author of Belonging Everywhere and Nowhere: Insights Into Counseling the Globally Mobile likens satisfying the need for belonging to “showing others your authentic self and getting a thumbs-up.”
Belonging not only feels good—it does us good.