I promise every week won’t be this deep☺. This is the movie scene that helped me comprehend how deeply humans need to belong.
I was 7 years old, watching A Girl Named Sooner. Sooner is brought from the ‘backwoods’ of Indiana, to live with a young couple, in town. She was excited to go to school, but once she started, it was obvious she did not fit in.
One day she told the other children about her pet bird. Sooner brings home some of the children, shows them her pet bird, and sets it on the ground in the middle of the group. The kids asked why it doesn’t fly away, and she told them it was because it doesn’t want to. They start throwing pebbles at the bird, trying to get it to fly away. This results in the death of the bird.
I remember crying, asking my Mom “Why doesn’t she tell them to stop? Why doesn’t she tell them to stop, Mom?” My Mom, who could always make the most complicated concepts easier to comprehend, simply said “Oh honey, she just wants to belong.”
We all NEED to belong. But, how people fulfill this need, can be drastically different and may be based on what is driving their need to belong. Joy or Fear.
If we fear that we don’t belong, our motivation is to fill the void. Maslow calls it a deficiency need. As a result, we may do anything to fit in. Even things that contradict our values and make us feel icky inside. Some people even find a scapegoat to blame for everything that isn’t right. Hence, polarization. As we’ve seen through-out history, scapegoats have been belittled, bullied, and sometimes, annihilated.
On the other hand, if we KNOW we belong – just down to our core – KNOW that we have been brought into this World because “I belong here”, we feel Joy. We choose our groups based on the Joy we feel being with these people, not to fill voids. When we KNOW we belong, it is easier to focus on our similarities, and embrace our differences.
What would be different in our world if we felt a sense of belonging? How different would it look if we let others know that they belong here? At home, with friends, at work?
By KNOWING we are US, instead of ‘us vs. them’, it will be a heck of a lot easier to work together to reach a common, amazing goal!
KNOW you belong!