Four paths to belonging
Most of us think of belonging and inclusion as the result of the number and quality of relationships in different parts of our lives. After all, we now know from neuroscience that individuals require social contact with other humans in order to activate healthy brain function and maintain emotional and physical health. But what if that limited definition—belonging to other people—actually restricts our full capability to feel like we belong?
For those of us working with or part of under-represented and marginalized groups, expanding the number and kinds of people we connect with is essential for working towards fuller social inclusion and equity.
Because of that, we may tend to over-focus on person-to-person belonging and not give other kinds of belonging enough emphasis.
The opportunity to expand our kinds of belonging can have significant positive effects in both our lifestyle choices and our individual health.
This session explores the idea that humans desire four different kinds of belonging, only one of them related to other people. When we expand to this larger understanding of belonging, it can result in very powerful feelings of belonging, even though we may have limited social connections.
This session is a highly experiential mix of activities exploring the four different kinds of belonging.
Participants will have the opportunity to widen their understanding of each type of belonging from their perspective and life story, participate in small-group discussions of different sizes, and identify areas in their life where they would like to increase their belonging.
What can participants expect?
This session provides an overview of the Four Paths to Belonging, and will give you the opportunity to explore how each of the four paths offers opportunities for connectedness, action, and love to grow in yourself and the people in your life. We encourage you to use the conversations, questions and tools offered here if they are helpful to you in your community-building or helping-professional work.
- Identify why expanding beyond social inclusion is necessary for belonging.
- Identify the four types of belonging necessary for whole-person belonging.
- Increase awareness of neuroscience of social connection.
- Review the 12 known negative effects of social isolation.
- Review your belonging through one type of indigenous lense.
- Understand why and how gifts are integrated into all four types of belonging.
- Identify natural elements and your belonging story.
- Expand our awareness of the benefits of strangers and belonging
- Why not-belonging stories are the foundation for hope between individuals.
- How meaning-making and faith can increase identity and belonging.
- Participants must be able to access both Zoom audio and video.
- We ask for active participation. This is not the type of event where you can listen- in while doing other things.
- There is no preparation necessary.
This is NOT a traditional diversity, justice, or equity training. It’s focused on each of us further exploring the condition of belonging in our own lives and reflecting on how we might use some of the questions, conversations and tools offered in this event as a way to encourage others to expand belonging in their life.
We particularly invite members of under-represented groups and employees/advocates/volunteers working in organizations serving under-represented groups.