“Human beings were made to connect with other humans. It is essential not only for our thriving but also to our survival,” – Amelia Franck Meyer at the start of her TED talk on “The Human Need for Belonging”.  

Belonging is like this. It is a connection which we use to support one another throughout our lives. In her TED talk on “The Essential Power of Belonging”, Caroline Clarke says that belonging is about finding our “roots” and finding our roots is about finding who we connect to, who our parents are, what culture we belong to and identifying ourselves through their identities.  

But, of course, this isn’t the only way we can belong. You could get this feeling from your friends from preschool to where you are now. Individuals who may share common interests with you, like art, music, sports, gaming, film, news, TV shows and any other shared interests. It could be friends supporting you through your passions, whatever they may be, however niche or extreme (like going to 24 countries before you’re 25!). They have passions elsewhere –you have your passions elsewhere – but they still end up supporting you.  

They might like walking while you like driving, they might like reading indoors while you like partying. Belonging is therefore also accepting that we have shared interests but also interests that we don’t share. Belonging is about supporting each other for our uniquenesses. 

So, what does belonging mean to you? Do you feel a connection with those who have and continue to support you? What does this connection look like? Feel like?  

Do you remember the last time you were welcomed for your differences? If so, when was this and where? How did it make you feel?  

How did it feel like connecting to your culture for the first time? Was it cool to know that you are connected to someone who looks like you, sounds like you, and shares history with you? Did joining a club at university reintroduce you to your culture or maintain your connectedness with your culture? How did it feel knowing that you can be your true self without needing to hide your identity? How did it feel to make someone else feel like they belong? How did it feel when you knew your friend also likes writing and put in a submission for this anthology? 😉 In fact, did you end up making more friends entering this cool anthology? 

We can’t wait to see what your interpretation of belonging is.  

Submit yours here

To watch Amelia Franck Meyer’s TED Talk, click this link

For Caroline Clark’s TED Talk on belonging, click this link. 

Words by Komal Gupta