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  • Writer's pictureNicole Cichocki

Creating Belonging

Humans are Wired to Belong

I’ve been a seeker of community ever since I can remember. From my childhood growing up in a dance studio, discovering 90’s rave culture as a teen all the way to now and being a part of a professional network of like-minded folks. I went on to discover my “people” in each chapter of my life and can honestly say the most pain I’ve been through in life has had some correlation with being rejected, or left out of the group.

As humans, we are wired to belong. We are not meant to go through this journey of life on our own. To our animal brains, being a part of the group means we will have enough resources and protection to survive. So no wonder being ousted, or alone can be so incredibly painful.

Beauty communities like salons, spas and even beauty retail, are some of the best places to create the sense of belonging that people so desperately need right now. Teams that build deep relationships and connections with each other, will create that same experience for the client’s that they serve. And that can have a powerful positive ripple effect out into the world.

Building Belonging

There are different things that can foster a sense of belonging. One important move is to practice acceptance. Brene Brown says “People are hard to hate up close, move in.” I’ve had this experience over and over. Sometimes when we have a deeper understanding of who someone is and where they are coming from versus just assuming they are a bad person, can help to feel more accepting of them. And compassion can begin to flood in.

Another way to build belonging is to look for the similarities between you and someone else, versus focusing on your differences. I am thinking of the relationship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Anthonin Scalia. The were close pals in life and had completely opposing views on the bench. Their relationship was built on their similarities and a mutual respect for one another’s opinion. Outsiders marveled at their connection, but the people closest to them spoke of their relationship as if it were to most natural thing on earth.

And the last way to build belonging is to seek it out within yourself. Make a practice of getting in touch with your feelings and getting to know your truth so you can show up in the world authentically. Versus trying to gain a sense of belonging by just fitting in and molding to other people’s ideas. Having different ideas from the group can be incredibly scary, especially in an environment that doesn’t allow for differing opinions. However, when you are solid about who you kind of come to expect to not agree with everyone, but you know you can still appreciate them and better separate principles from personalities.

Belonging Requires Effort

No matter what you do to build belonging, the key is you must make an ongoing effort. It can seem more challenging that ever as our world becomes more tumultuous, divided, and our leaders and media are constantly feeding us an “us against them” narrative. The truth is, we are better together. So whether it’s in your family, your workplace, or your community, belonging is worth the effort because it is a key component to thriving.

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