The Belonging Intervention

As we start to get used to the idea of extended isolation I’m reflecting on how I’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries. What I often laugh about is that while I have many memories of the experience of the place – my wife seems to remember more about the food that we eat

  • In Italy I remember the Colosseum she remembers the gelato

  • In Paris I remember the Eiffel tower she remembers the crepes

  • In Israel I remember Jerusalem city she remembers the kebabs

You get the idea – and my wife did ask me to point out that she likes running as well ;)

I’m sure you can related to her – because in our culture we connect over meals and if you think about the best meal you have ever had – it probably has a lot to do with the people that were there at the time.

See right now – it’s the simpleness of sharing a meal with friends that I’m missing.

We are not getting to invite others into our lives and building genuine community is getting hard to do.

I think this relates to that fact that we are starting to lose are sense of belonging.

I was recently reading a Stanford research article on a topic called the Belonging Intervention. Let me read share some excerpts from this:

What is the opposite of loneliness? Is it belonging? 
Because as humans, we need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. 
Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.  

A sense of social belonging can affect motivation and continued persistence, even on impossible tasks. That is, if you don't feel like you belong, you are both less motivated and less likely to hang in there in the face of obstacles. 

The belonging intervention has the potential to downgrade uncontrollable stress by allowing people to put a narrative around their traumatic experiences. It places those experiences in a box with a beginning, a middle and an end. As a consequence, the meaning of the negative experience is constrained, and people understand that when bad things happen, it's not just them, they are not alone, and that it's something that passes.

We need the place we belong.


I think belonging relates to three areas: sharing, commonality and involvement.

Sharing is the generous act of giving rather than getting. It a demonstrable action where we share our stuff, share our life, share our knowledge and invest in others.

Commonality is about a partnership joined by a common cause – a life with one another.

Participation is about getting involved. Having your place, your role. Believing that the combination of all of us together is better than us on our own or divided.

So – I think at this time – as we build our new online world – let’s not forget to keep helping eachother find the place that we belong.

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