The Need to Belong | Nashville Christian Family Magazine July 2023 issue - free Christian magazine

Growing up the sixth of eight children, a sense of belonging was important. In school, I was just one of hundreds so belonging was much more important.  The need to fit in was critical to my adolescent mind and what made it worse was everyone else was going through exactly what I was, I just didn’t realize it.

Now, in my sixties, I know much more about what we all experienced in adolescence.  I learned that our young brains do not fully develop until our mid to late twenties and that our developing bodies are flooded with mood altering hormones.  Hmm, those facts alone answered so many questions about why our bodies and thoughts could not be controlled.

Since high school, I’ve attended many reunions.  People I once found nothing in common with, all of a sudden, I want to know all about their lives and they mine.  We feel a natural connection with each other.  The fact is, we are no longer competing to belong because we survived the common experience of high school together. We feel like we can now trust one another.  Whenever we share something in common, the level of trust rises.  It is human nature, an eternal truth, and works the same for everyone.

In the captured environment of a room full of alumni, this is easy to observe but in open society, we must depend on shared values and beliefs in order to find that feeling of belonging.  Add to that fact that people’s desire to find that “feeling” is so strong, even as adults, we will do very irrational things and go to extreme measures to achieve that goal.  Watch the television ads for an hour and count the ones that focus our attention on how their product or service will makes you feel like you are one of the “cool kids”. 

Physically, our fully developed mind is wired to process information, some rational, most emotional.  Both are important to our survival and neither necessarily will automatically work together.  When we do not employ the rational part of our brain, it is said we make a “gut reaction”.  Our gut cannot process rational information either.  When we misplace our trust, we can strive to belong to the “wrong crowd” not the in crowd, which will likely resort in physical, mental, and / or spiritual harm.    

Have you ever wondered why you could not give yourself a rational answer as to why you made a bad decision, one that felt good at the time you made it?  You knew it was the wrong decision the minute you made it but the pleasure, or the other emotions, were more important at the time.  It is only in the moments of reflection; your rational mind takes control.  The only true answer is, our emotional side of the brain acted and outweighed the rational part.  Our desire to belong was stronger than doing the healthy thing for our physical being, the right thing for our mental self, and the good thing for the spiritual soul.  Yes, all three must be correct for it to be a wise choice.   

The next question we have to ask is, “Can a society, as a whole, be made to make irrational decisions?”  The answer is a resounding YES; just refer back to the TV ads or the news in general.  This unprecedented phenomenon is causing countless problems in today’s society by promoting ideas that are harmful to our bodies, wrong on the intellectual level, and just plain bad on the spiritual plain.  The truth only matters to the rational part of our brain while our emotions

determine who we trust.  When we trust people who are lying to us, their lies become our beliefs and, as every rational person can attest, society is definitely not using rational thoughts today.       

If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others. 

Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”

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