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Where We Belong When We No Longer Belong

by Holly Elissa Bruno, Beverlyn Cain, Ruth Ann Ball and Alicia D. Smith
July/August 2020
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/where-we-belong-when-we-no-longer-belong/5025490/

Abraham Maslow nailed it: we yearn to belong. 

Our nerve cells quiver with joy when welcomed and wither in grief when rejected. Our bodies are hardwired to keep us safe. “Strength in numbers” spells safety. How much of your identity is staked to whose parent, child, partner or colleague you are?

Belonging to tribes (identity groups like family) protects us. Yet, tribal loyalties shift: family members squabble. We get fired or furloughed. Pandemics disperse tribes. 

The explorer of new territories soothes herself with images of home. Our need to belong and our need express our uniqueness spar. 

A lone wolf baying over a snowy hilltop portrays the nobleness of a courageous self-defining soul. Wolves cannot survive without the pack that feeds and protects individuals. We need to fulfill our individual promise and we need a pack. Given our compelling need to belong:

  • What choices do we have when our tribe abandons us? 
  • What life lessons, however painful, can we learn from exile?

To feel at home within ourselves, carrying our home like a turtle, is a path to serenity. Picture a homeless child claiming her space of worthiness wherever she lands that night. Imagine entering a workplace, trusting you are meant to make a ...

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