Why is it important to belong?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Madam Mim, Jun 22, 2011.

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  1. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    I know humans as a species are social creatures, and we like to live with others who are similar to us. That's just our nature. But why do we need to feel like people understand us? This is something that often comes up in my therapy sessions, because I don't feel like anyone understands me. And now I'm thinking; so what if they don't? Why does it matter so much to feel understood?

    I would be very interested to hear your views on this. Do you need to feel understood? If not, why not? Do you have anyone who you feel really understands you?

  2. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    I do feel I need to be understood, to belong with someone, and yes, I have several good friends who truly understand who I am and what I need to be in this world..J
  3. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    That must be wonderful. This is frustrating me because I think I've made it into a much bigger issue than it should be or than I want it to be. I wish I could let it go.

  4. gakky1

    gakky1 Well-Known Member

    ^^ It's not easy to let it go, so many others battle with the same problem so you're not alone. Try not to worry if you don't fit into a big group or they don't understand you, you may end up feeling worse changing yourself just to fit in. Have always thought it's more quality than quantity when it comes to those issues, feel it's so much better to have just a few really understand you than try to make a whole group feel that way towards you. If we knew a bit more about you that may help, sorry if a lot of it doesn't make sense,:unsure: my train of thought only lasts for 20 words at a time, keep on posting here because there will probably be some better advice for you.:aussie:
  5. MoAnamCara

    MoAnamCara SF Artist

    Mim -

    This is such an interesting topic you raise, its something I've been examining also.

    Is it for people to understand us or for us just to have a connection with people? What type of connection, does it really matter?

    If you and I both like flowers, is that enough of a connection? And because of that will we understand each other? Is that enough of a bond to make us feel comfortable?

    Some of it may be the need for acceptance for who we are, warts & all!

    Some of it may be the need to belong, like you said, to fit in. To feel part of a group etc.

    I am on the fence about needing to be understood. Sometimes I would desire it and other times I wouldn't give a hoot. We are all different which is a very good thing in my mind.

    As for people who get me, there was one who knew me warts & all, she killed herself. I have few people in my life as friends etc., I know a lot due to work so its not the same. But those acquaintances/friends I feel don't really know me.

    But is that their fault? Have I shared myself with them to allow them the opportunity to understand me?

    I may not have shared enough. Yikes, its complicated for me.

    But I DO understand where you are coming from asking this question! Yay!

    Take care.
  6. Datura

    Datura Well-Known Member

    ^Yeah it depends on your definition of understanding.

    I don't particularly expect people to understand my personality, or why I view things in a certain way, my hardships, etc. What I would like, is for the few people I'm close with to not misunderstand what I say and what I mean. Nobody has to fully understand the way I think or feel, but those feelings need be acknowledged rather than invalidated.
  7. Pickett

    Pickett Well-Known Member

    Absolutely every living creature on this Earth wants to belong. If you have a pet I'm sure it wants to feel your touch and know you are there to feed it. Animals in the wild depending on their breed will hunt in packs together.

    Humans are just another animal. Most of them have cell phones and computers but they're just another animal.

    You should really check out a researcher who went to Africa to study chimps. Jane Goodall was her name and she studied their behavior. It's really fascinating that some of their structure is similar to ours. The documentary I saw was eyeopening.

    We need belonging. I'm way beyond fooling myself into believing I don't need anyone. Whether or not someone understands you is another thing. Most people won't, but that one's that show empathy and help you are the one's that count. Everyone here has met more assholes than they wished they met, but we still need belonging. Without that we are more depressed and on the verge of self-destruction.
  8. nolonger

    nolonger Well-Known Member

    people just don't want to feel like the only one
  9. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your replies. Interestingly, they've made it clear to me that I think of belonging (even if only to a group of two) and understanding as synonymous states; i.e. people have to understand me before I can belong with them. Which of course need not be the case.

    I have a number of friends, and a couple of close friends who know me well and accept me for who I am. But even with them I get those moments when I say something that makes them stare at me with open mouths, which makes me wonder if anyone actually 'gets' me at all.

    gakky, I definitely agree with quality over quantity - I'd settle for just one person to truly understand how I feel. I can easily make myself appear to fit into a large group, but I know that I don't belong with them.

    MoAnamCara, you raise some very interesting points that I must consider. This is such a complicated area, and there are so many factors. I'm so sorry that you lost your friend. I truly hope you can build that bond again.

    Datura, I totally see where you're coming from. It hurts when people we're close to misunderstand what we say, because we feel that they should know what we mean. This happens to me a lot, and I constantly find myself having to clarify what I've said.

    Pickett, I have studied Jane Goodall's work and although there are some legitimate criticisms of her, it is extremely interesting. I find the study of any animal behaviour interesting though, as any mammal behaviour can always be compared to humans.

    LongRoad95, totally! I just wish I didn't mind.

  10. Jonathan

    Jonathan Well-Known Member

    For me it makes me feel like I'm worth something of value when I feel like I 'belong'. (Whether that be friendship value toward someone)

    I used to think I never belonged or was worth anything to anyone but my Dad and sister. For me that was not enough as I wanted belong to others I had not only just grown up with my entire life but also with others who I'd just met recently etc. i.e. they'd get to know me and like me for being me.

    I recently made freinds with a group of people and I feel that I belong to be in Taiwan right now. If I had not made those friends, I probably would still feel suicidal. But I have made friends with a good bunch of people who are fun and accept me kind of.

    We aren't close or that friendly, but I can probably talk to them about something on my mind and that is what makes me feel like I belong, when they will listen to me etc.
  11. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    This is really good, and it's comforting to hear that you've found a group you belong with.

  12. Kassy

    Kassy Well-Known Member

    I thought I would never find someone who truly understand how I feel, but I found one : my therapist. He reads in me like an opened book and I feel great about it. I feel there is at least 1 person who will never judge me and he knows how I will react even before I answer questions !

    When everyone has been saying I was either bipolar, crazy, wild, etc..., my psychiatrist says I have a difficult life and I have been severly traumatised as a child. Those words create peace inside me: I am broken and now, I know why. I have been looking for that cause forever and it was just there : my parents were not good parents and I still suffer from it.
  13. Avarice

    Avarice Well-Known Member

    I feel the exact same about my therapist, my past and my parents! He knows how sensitive I am and I know that when he compliments me he means it; he's not trying to get anything out of me or just trying to make me feel better. It's nice to hear someone sympathize with what I've been through and understand how difficult life can be.
  14. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    The thing is that I don't feel like my cousellor does understand, not really. Which is probably my fault for not opening up enough, but I also still feel that he might judge me, which is just the paranoia, but I can't shake it. And then I wonder that if even my therapist doesn't understand how is anyone else supposed to?

  15. foreverforgotten

    foreverforgotten Well-Known Member

    i dont have a therapist anymore..cant afford it now
    but when i did..she oversimplified things.
    i think she was more concerned about getting her new licence
    or whatever it was she was working towardsthan me.
    i was just another number. she made me feel guilty..like i was just being selfish.
    i felt disgusting coming to her because she would wave things off.. not important. not worth her time.
    just a complainer. negative me. selfish.
    i needed her help. i dont know how to fix me.
    but apparently i shouldnt look to other people to
    find answers for me.

    anyways...i know its my fault. that much i figured out now..
    i cant open up.. so i relate to you on that.
    when your not ready to open up then..
    nothing can change unless you allow it..
    im trying to accept things. and just let people in..
    maybe its okay if someone judges me wrongly, or
    is disgusted by what they see inside... maybe....
    hmm.. no i dont think i like that idea though. thats why im stuck.

    belonging is important because its like a support system.
    its the most important thing ever.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2011
  16. oxygenidia

    oxygenidia Well-Known Member

    That's one of my problems. I feel so disconnected to society and other people. The only times in my life when I have felt less alone and a bit hopeful is when I have felt a connection with someone. That doesn't mean they understood everything about me, I don't think anyone can, but they understood and connected enough that I felt like I belonged somewhere. Like there was a place I could feel happy. Turned out I was wrong about that so... Now I'm starting to realize that other people are probably never going to fix my problems. I will be alone for the reat of my life. I need to learn to cope with that I think....
  17. Kassy

    Kassy Well-Known Member

    In another way, I find it embarrasing...because of all of his support, I feel I could fell in love with him. I get so much support from him, I wish we could be always together.

    I know, I'm sick.
  18. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    This is how I feel, I wish I didn't care what people think, I wish I could accept that I don't fit in with people, but really I do care. But I don't know what to do about it, which is so frustrating.

    I'm starting to think this too. I've realised that I have a regular cycle of making and then alienating my friends. Romantic-type relationships don't even feature anymore, they're over before they start. I should just accept it and move on, but I can't.

    It's not sick, it happens a lot. Because my counsellor is male, I worried that I might end up in a similar situation, but instead now I just wish he was my father. I suppose, I should have seen that one coming.

  19. ThornThatNeverHeals

    ThornThatNeverHeals Well-Known Member

    Its important to us, because if we are understood we are not alone, and if we are not understood we are alone, and being alone or different always puts an animal at risk, its the first thing that is noticed, its primitive to us. Nobody really understands another fully, i dont understand anyone, and nobody sure as hell understands me... i guess we just have to hope someone cares enough to try, beacuse thats how you know that someone is a good friend, and doesnt think of you as discardable.

    just my thoughts- ramblings of a crazy person.
  20. Kassy

    Kassy Well-Known Member

    The idea I have of a father is so screwed and damaged, I cant imagine having a good one.

    I am married since 14 years now and I find my husband becoming more like my father with the years. Then, I have no difficulty to imagine me with someone who actually takes good care of me and understand me so well (therapist).

    The day my life will become simpler is a day not created yet.
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