If we don’t feel like we belong, we struggle.
What is Kate's Nuggets?
Bite-sized chunks of wisdom about self-leadership for you to chew on.
Connecting to the Largest Possible Community
Podcast Opening over Theme Music:
Hello and welcome. This is Kate's Nuggets, the podcast where I share bite-size nuggets of wisdom about self-leadership. I am your host, Kate Arms. I invite you to listen lightly, let these ideas wash over you. Take what you take and let the rest go. You can always come back and listen again.
Hello. Today I want to talk about our feeling like we belong.
The sense of community and connection is really, really important to people, and it's always important to people. And there are many times when people feel like they are in the presence of people but still lonely.
The phenomenon of being lonely in a crowd is one that many people have been familiar with.
Of course, these days that is probably not the feeling that people have if they're feeling alone and unconnected to people. There are a lot of people right now who are not seeing a lot of people who are very aware of how disconnected they feel, how when they get together with people, they are distancing and no hugs and getting together in small groups and not having parties and not travelling to see people that they love.
And it's hard. It's really, really hard.
What I'm going to offer today isn't going to make it not hard and isn't going to stop you from missing the things that you used to do that you are missing.
But it may give you something else that you can do to feel connected. Either now when you're feeling isolated, or at any time where you're just not feeling very deeply connected with the people that you're spending time with and you want to feel a deeper sense of connection.
What I'm going to suggest here is that we think of the largest possible community that we belong to. What is the biggest community of which you are a part? Are you thinking about your neighborhood? Are you thinking about the company that you work for? Are you thinking about your country? Are you thinking about the human race? Are you thinking about the cosmos?
I'm going to encourage you to think about the cosmos and the human race.
When you think about belonging and being in interconnection with the human race, there's an exercise that sometimes people do before a meal. When you've made a meal, before you start to eat, take a moment to think about every human being who has contributed to that meal being able to be on the table in front of you. The food itself, of course, came from some kind of producer that may have included grocery stores and shipping companies and farmers. It will have included the people who picked the food in the field. It will have included anybody who raised any animals that might be part of the meal.
And of course, every single ingredient has its own supply chain that brought it to you. Every person who was involved in that supply chain in any way has a community that supports them and has housing that was built for them by somebody and communities that support them and families that support them.
You, of course, are sitting in your own space, which presumably is a building that was built by somebody that may have been sold to you by somebody. And you probably have furniture all of which was made by somebody, which was designed by somebody, which was shipped by somebody, which was sold by somebody.
All of these somebody's had entire communities that made it possible for them to do what they did that enabled this meal to come to the table.
This meal, this moment, is evidence of the interconnectedness all of the people in that supply chain.
If you think about the history of the human race and you think about the fact that we all come from a single ancestor, we all are connected.
Now think about all of the people that you do interact with, all of the people who think about you, all of the people whose lives you touch in a way that you know. Some of those you can probably identify.
A way that you touch somebody's life that helps them touch somebody else's life or that changes the way they interact with somebody else.
You are part of a network of interactions.
What other people do influences what you do. What you do influences what other people do. If you're home alone and not doing very much, how are you keeping yourself occupied? Are you reading books which were written and printed by people and delivered by people? Are you watching television or movies which were made by huge numbers of people? If you want to feel like you belong to a large community and you want to feel more connected to the world watch the credits of a movie sometimes and think about how each one of those people was necessary for your enjoyment in the moment of watching a movie.You are connected to each of those people.
Each of those people has exerted effort for you to be entertained.
At this moment, you belong exactly where you are.
We always belong exactly where we are, but we don't always feel like we belong.
So use these exercises to help you notice your connections.
Because really it doesn't matter whether we cognitively understand that we are a necessary part of all that is or how we fit into the systems that rely on us. If we don't feel it, it isn't real to us in a very crucial way.
If we don't feel like we belong, we want to choose to do things that increase our felt sense of belonging.
One of the things that I like to do is I like to connect to my sense of belonging to nature, to the cosmos. And I do this in several ways. One is to find a place where I can see the horizon. Because when you can see the horizon, you can see how the land that you are standing on or sitting on extends so far beyond where you are that you can't see it now. Of course, the curvature of the earth makes it impossible for you to see it, but it feels so far away. It's one of the reasons that staring at the night sky can be so powerful.
Even if you don't have a really clear, not light polluted view, if you look up and you see planets and the stars, you sense how big this world really is.
And here we are on this planet, an inextricable part of everything that is.
We are simultaneously the center of our own universe and just a part of the connections that make up the universe. And sometimes when we feel alone in our heads, reminding ourselves of the connections that exist between us and everything else that is helps us remember we belong.
Pay attention sometime to the sensations along your skin that are at the boundary between you and not. You know that electrons do not stay in you or in the not you. Electrons pass between them and you are interconnected with the air around you because the material that makes you up exchanges itself across that boundary.
You are not disconnected.
You are part of a chain of events that keeps happening and that crosses the globe, that interacts with other planets, that interacts with the sun because of gravity.
You are a part of everything and everything would not be as it is without you.
You belong exactly where you are.
I hope you feel that.
End Theme and Credits:
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Here's to Thriving! Catch you next time.
Kate's Nuggets is a Signal Fire Coaching production. The music is adapted under license from Heroic Age by Kevin McLeod.