Belonging is a beautiful word. The word itself, from a phonetic, artistic, and poetic rhythmic point of view is really not that pretty. It doesn’t sound strong and impressive like “Behold!“, or romantic and soft as “Love” or “Embrace”. You can try saying “belonging” with different accents and it still doesn’t feel flowing and comfortable to the pronunciation. It feels heavy and clumsy. Nevertheless, it is beautiful in the sentiment of its combined parts, and the completeness it brings to the soul when it is achieved. (Well, that was philosophically exciting!)
‘Be’ – ‘longing’. Longing is a yearning desire. Belonging is a yearning desire to be, the desire to find a sense of identity, to be a connected part of something or someone. Belonging is the desire to participate in a close and intimate relationship outside of ourselves. Humans are wired to coexist, and to be together. It is this sense of participation that kept the human race together for so long. We fight it, we deny it, we isolate ourselves, and hide inside a cocoon of self-protection and self-preservation, where our fears and imperfections are out of sight from others and ourselves, but we can’t escape from the innate need to be part of something and someone. That cocoon allows us to avoid confrontation and judgement, and increases in us a false sense of independence. Sadly, it also keeps us away from love, friendship, and intimacy. All of these we taste at a distance without ever delighting fully in the experience. Imagine a turtle without its shell. Belonging removes that shell and exposes us as we truly are.
Although belonging is an innate need, it might not come naturally to some of us, or so we say. We often reject identifiers and in the process reject ourselves looking for a substitute for the identity we can’t comprehend… so we become. Becoming is turning into something else. Often, becoming results in adopting and adapting to something or someone we are not. In an effort to belong, we reject belonging to become, in order to belong. Does it sound confusing and contradicting? Welcome to the human experience! We engage with people and activities trying to get rid of the shell, but slaving ourselves to a deeper confinement within. We use justification and self-righteousness in the process. The path of becoming may result in an image in the mirror of someone we can’t recognize.
We are designed for closeness and intimacy. I’m not talking about indiscriminate sexual encounters used to masquerade our need for belonging, which sounds like another conversation altogether. Belonging is a sense of community that reaches far beyond the sexual realm into the mind, the soul, and the spirit in unbreakable bond. Becoming requires painful effort, and leads to constant fear that someday your attempts could be betrayed, rejected, or undermined. In belonging, we are already accepted. The shell falls naturally, relationships are cultivated and maintained, not forced or coerced. Love reigns in belonging and becoming is transforming into who you really are, not something else.