Written by Molly Schreiber, Founder + CEO, Challenge to Change, Inc.
"We all long to belong. When we feel we belong, we find ourselves." ~ Molly Schreiber
In a world that often feels disconnected and fragmented, the feeling of belonging holds immense significance. It is a fundamental human need, deeply rooted in our nature as social beings. Whether it's within a family, a community, or a larger society, the sense of belonging plays a crucial role in shaping our identity, well-being, and overall happiness.
We all long to belong. When we feel we belong, we find ourselves. When we find our identity, our people, the place where the world makes sense to us, we find belonging. This Thanksgiving season, I invite all of us to take a mindful moment to feel gratitude for the people who give us our sense of belonging. I challenge you to look around the table this Thanksgiving and ask yourself, within your mindful moment, ask yourself the following questions:
Why are these humans so important to me?
How do they fill my need for belonging?
More than likely, they fulfill one of the following five areas which belonging gives us.
At Challenge To Change, we truly pride ourselves on creating a community of belonging. Through our staff meetings, strong community connections and Corporate Kindness philosophy and practices, we are able to create a strong community of Changemakers who make the world around them better than they found it.
How the Feeling of Belonging Helps You Grow
1. Identity and Self-Worth
Belonging provides us with a sense of identity and self-worth. When we feel accepted and valued by others, we develop a stronger sense of who we are and what we contribute to the world. It helps us understand our place in society and gives us a foundation to build upon. Without a sense of belonging, we may struggle with feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, and a lack of purpose.
At Challenge To Change, we call ourselves Changemakers. The work we do within our calling of Mindful Education gives our collective group a strong sense of belonging and contribution to society. As Changemakers, we bring tools to students through the modalities of yoga and mindfulness. We get to watch each student practice the tools we offer in each lesson at C2C, being mindful of their thoughts and emotions, thus reminding our teachers of their self-worth classroom after classroom.
2. Emotional Support and Well-being
Belonging creates a support system that nurtures our emotional well-being. When we belong to a group or community, we have people who understand and empathize with our experiences, joys, and struggles. This support network provides a safe space to share our thoughts, seek advice, and receive comfort during challenging times. Research has shown that individuals with strong social connections experience lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
At Challenge To Change, our Changemakers practice becoming strong emotional scientists. A self scientist of learning and growing to know themselves at a deep level, so they can make healthy choices for themselves and then give of themselves in a healthy and loving way. We believe when our Changemakers are supported at an emotional level before working with students, they have lower levels of stress while feeling connected to themselves and their coworkers. This support network becomes a soft landing ground for them to fall when they encounter a difficult situation personally and professionally.
3. Increased Resilience and Confidence
Belonging fosters resilience and confidence within individuals. When we feel a sense of belonging, we are more likely to take risks, pursue our passions, and overcome obstacles. The knowledge that we have a support system behind us gives us the courage to face challenges head-on. Belongingness acts as a buffer against adversity, providing us with the strength to bounce back from setbacks and continue moving forward.
Our Changemakers are taught to speak their truth. They are taught to first do the work on themselves and then once they have done so, to speak their truth. When a Changemaker takes this risk supported in a system of emotional wellbeing, they feel seen and heard. Speaking the truth of what they desire for their growth personally and professionally is often done at check-ins with their direct report thus allowing safe growth within our organization.
4. Collaboration and Growth
Belongingness encourages collaboration and growth. When we belong to a group, we have the opportunity to learn from others, share knowledge, and work towards common goals. Collaboration fosters creativity, innovation, and personal development. By being part of a community, we can tap into a collective wisdom that helps us expand our horizons and achieve more than we could on our own.
Through our structure of Corporate Kindness, we bring in speakers to help facilitate the learning within our mission. We invite our Changemakers to share their goals, personally and professionally, within their community. Once this sharing happens, belonging kicks in. This year we have used the modality of Human Design to put our Changemakers into what we call "Noble Goal" groups.
As our organization has grown in size, we still want a strong sense of community and belonging. In these smaller groups, we are supporting each other in writing our Noble Goals for life. Our Noble Goals are our mission statement in life. The statement that gets us out of bed every morning. Through our work in Human Design and doing the work on understanding ourselves, we are able to grow within the safe support of our Nobel Goal groups.
5. Sense of Purpose and Meaning
Belongingness gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in life. When we feel connected to something larger than ourselves, whether it's a cause, a community, or a shared belief, we find a deeper sense of fulfillment. Belonging provides us with a reason to strive for something greater, to contribute to the well-being of others, and to leave a positive impact on the world.
In creating our Nobel Goals and having a mission statement personally and professionally, each Changemaker feels meaning in life. This statement will then appear in their bio on our website, their fellow Changemakers expect them to share it and help them stay close to following their Noble Goal day after day, thus creating belonging to oneself and to an organization of Changemakers also doing the work.
The feeling of belonging is a powerful force that shapes our lives in profound ways. It influences our identity, emotional well-being, resilience, confidence, collaboration, and sense of purpose. As social beings, we crave connection and acceptance. Therefore, it is crucial to foster environments that promote inclusivity, empathy, and a sense of belonging for all individuals.
Challenge to Change recognizes the importance of belonging, how we can create a world where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential.
So, as you ask those belonging questions around your table this Thanksgiving season, ask one more:
How can I empower and foster belonging for them?
P.S. I'm so excited to announce my newest meditation challenge!
Throughout this 12-day challenge, you will become an emotional scientist and uncover the deeper wisdom of your emotions.
What you’ll get:
7 EXCLUSIVE emotions meditations
Downloadable challenge journal
Each day, you will:
Watch a short video
Write down the emotion that you are feeling.
Write down the physical sensation you are feeling.
Choose a guided meditation from the included emotions meditations that most closely matches how you’re feeling.
Journal on the day’s prompt.
This challenge officially launches on December 1st, 2023.
Namaste my friends!