What Does Belonging Mean to You?

What does it mean to belong to a group, team or organization? And why is it something that most of us do at some point in our lives? The simple answer is that it’s in our nature. The desire to belong is a basic human need.Team of soccer players

Being part of something that’s bigger than ourselves. Some people might join a group because they feel a sense of weakness or that they can’t accomplish much on their own. Joining certain groups can be a way of getting things done and also a way to gain power and influence. On the negative side, a group can sometimes turn into a mob that is capable of destructive acts that individuals wouldn’t or couldn’t do on their own — like looting stores or burning witches.

Groups can be a way to identify ourselves. There are certain social structures we’re born into. This could mean being a member of a family, citizen of a country, having a certain gender, belonging to a particular religion, and so on. However, just because we begin our lives identifying with certain groups doesn’t mean that our circumstances won’t change or that we can’t change how we choose to identify ourselves.

Sharing common interests. In high school, there are lots of opportunities to be part of a group that shares your interests. It may be a sports team, cheer squad, student government, foreign language club, theater or band, to name just a few. Connecting with others in this way can be satisfying — and fun.

Feeling accepted. We often form friendships and social cliques as a means to feel accepted and valued by others. Friendships can improve our self-esteem and make us feel supported, cared for and comfortable in our own skin.

The benefits of membership. Some organizations provide benefits to their members, such as savings and a shared sense of purpose. For example: because credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives, they are able to return profits to their members and offer lower rates on loans. Many members also cite the credit unions’ social mission of people helping people as another reason to join.

Why do you belong to certain groups?