Change is all around us and that means traditional ideas of belonging and how humans connect are being challenged.
According to BBC Radio 3 host Philip Dodd, “Belonging is the most compelling cultural and political question of our time. Anywhere across Europe the issue stares back at us. Who are we? Who belongs? Who doesn’t?”
Though change can be daunting, it’s also exhilarating and exciting. New ideas are born out of change.
And an open attitude to constant change is one of the pillars of true belonging. Not fitting in, but really belonging. It’s a concept that’s both complicated and challenging. As one of my readers eloquently said, our inner belonging is formed by outer world relationships, but those outer world relationships must be nurtured with compassion. Simply understanding our own belonging could take a lifetime. But we also need to be open to those from cultures or countries we’re not familiar with.
True belonging comes from questioning ourselves, embracing difference and diversity, being engaged and empathetic. It’s about including other people, not excluding them, and accepting rather than simply tolerating those who are different. Belonging is about respect. It’s about trying to connect with the universal Other, not alienate or isolate her or him. It’s about having a voice and being heard. It’s about learning. It’s about living with uncertainty.
Am I passionate, obsessed or just single-minded? Well perhaps all three, but deep down I’m just a writer and a journalist with a hint of wanderlust, who’s looking for answers.
Want to know how UK super star philosopher Alain de Botton struggles with belonging, or how belonging found writer and playwright Lisa Southgate?