Feeling useless is a very unpleasant, alienating emotion. We all want to belong. It is a basic human need. But often to belong, we need to contribute to the group in a positive way. When we can’t do that, we feel like we don’t fit in. Feeling like we don’t belong is a foundation wound in any human soul. A lot of our emotional well being is invested in belonging, so not having it will cause a great deal of suffering and insecurity.
Most of us get that sense of belonging from others. Their affirmations and encouragement build this sense of togetherness and “us-ness”. I’ve heard it said that most employees would remain in a lower paid job that made them feel like there were valued and belong, than a higher paying job where they didn’t feel needed or valued.
Belonging is so important! I struggled with the feeling that I didn’t belong most of my life, my way of dealing with that was to perform. I would please and over function, doing all I could so I would be valued and belong. I became very good at it actually and because of this competency I would usually be given responsibility and more work.
Unfortunately, winning a sense of belonging this way has a huge emotional and mental cost. When I started to do some personal interior work, I realised that I was experiencing a low level sense of anxiety most of the time despite my external “belonging” because deep down I knew I was just one mistake away from being cast out of the group.
Gaining belonging by competence is at its roots transactional. By this I mean I was given an external, temporary membership to a group in return for service and conformity. This is never going to meet the deepest needs in the human soul. All of us want to be accepted as we are. We want people to see us as essentially worthy of love and acceptance. That’s because we should be! Whenever a human being is treated like an object and not a subject, a foundational principle of the universe is violated. That all of us are here, therefore we belong.
All of us want to be accepted as we are. We want people to see us as essentially worthy of love and acceptance. That’s because we should be!
What right does any person have to dictate to you whether you belong here? In your essential being, you are equal in value to all others. Humans, at this stage of consciousness, tend to place extrinsic value on those around them. Most relationships are transactional in nature. If you do this and that, I will accept you and value you. We reward conformity and punish nonconformity. This is a survival mindset. If we are in danger of starvation or attack we fall into a lower consciousness where survival instincts kick in and everything becomes functional. We start to think…how will this tool, this person, this group help me survive?
The survival instinct is important of course but it misses the foundational truth that nobodybelongs to anybody else. People are sovereign beings, with foundational, intrinsic value. Human slavery is an example of the horrors created when you start to see a precious human soul as a tool for your own survival. Most work places, businesses and clubs still work on the principal of humans as tools. If we make others stepping stones to our advancement we are going to live the same story internally. In other words, what we expect from them we will expect from ourselves.This means belonging is transactional and exclusion is a very real possibility at any time.
This sets us up for an insecurity that drives a core need to be useful. Usefulness should never be the price for belonging. I believe belonging is a foundational state for all human beings. This intrinsic belonging is based on me being here on earth. I come from the earth like you and I will return to it. While I’m here, I have as much right to belong as anybody! This is an internal sense of belonging, based on deep truth and sets you up for peace and joy. If you can walk into any group, business or work place with an internal sense of belonging, you have achieved something of tremendous value. For much of human history, belonging has wrongfully been assigned to the proficient and the useful, when it has always been an intrinsic right of every human being.
If you are feeling useless, you are possibly basing your right to belong on your ability to do something for others. You need to start the work of internalising your sense of belonging. I use several mantras to help me shift from external belonging to internal belonging. One of them is “I belong where I am, I am where I belong”, another one is “I am home” and “I am from the same Earth as everyone else, so I have the same right to belong as they do.” Regular use of these truth statements will add confidence and decrease anxiety in social situations.
You don’t have to be useful! You belong where you decide you belong. Believe this foundational truth and the whole world becomes your home!
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