Let's talk a little more about belonging. In some places and with some people, we feel great. We're happy, feel welcome, and are valued. It's like that here at The Hangout.
But sometimes in the real world, it can feel exactly the opposite. Like no one cares about us, that we are outsiders, and that we don't really fit in (remember our little talk about surviving the lunchroom).These are both situations and feelings that are about belonging.
Belonging can be any of the things listed below, or you can make up your own definition of what it means to belong. Do any of these have meaning for you?
- You fit in and belong to a group where other people like you, accept you, and see you as a part of their group.
- Being yourself and being accepted by others for who you are.
- Knowing you're part of your community and feel welcomed in your community - at home, at school, and in your neighborhood.
- Welcoming others as part of your community and providing support so they belong too.
- Knowing and understanding your culture, your values, and where you come from. Understanding your own history.
- The opposite of being bullied and harassed.
What's the opposite of belonging? Well, things like being harassed, teased, bullied, not being included, things like that. Let's take the school lunchroom, for example. We don't know about you, but we think the lunchroom can be a pretty brutal place sometimes. Everyone has their own group of friends – or cliques, which is okay because most students have friends that they want to hang out with. But, what about other students that don't have anyone to hang out with? Or what happens when your group of friends doesn’t eat lunch at the same time you do? Who do you sit with? Who do you hang out with? Do others let you join their group? The school lunchroom is the place where many of us feel strongly that we DO or DON'T belong. That's why we call this section, "Surviving the Lunch Room."
So what makes you feel like you belong?
Try a Youthhood activity: