Isn’t it a good feeling to be associated as a member of highly visible industries, neighborhood interest groups, sports teams, and even spiritual communities? From our participation in these groups, we practice authenticity, conquer issues & concerns, construct the future, and renew the loving bonds of family & friends. In essence, we belong to something wonderful and bigger than ourselves. When does belonging cost you a significant portion of your own identity? When does belonging begin feeling like sacrifice?

We may all be veterans of the Fast Track career syndrome, high performance athlete teams, or specific cultural societies. As many of these professional organizations and communities carry a high status in the public today, they may not allow for the freedom of demonstrating any differences or your own personal values. Consequently, belonging to a given group can also limit the personal freedoms of vacations, time off, and time for self. You will notice in today’s media that it is not good enough to take a vacation, you have to pursue something extreme such as, ice climbing in foreign countries, camping in the Amazon, or a canoe trip in the Colorado rapids for a week! Many today are accepting vacation invitations not of their true personal desire but to continue their belonging in a given group. So, these same individuals return from vacation as exhausted as when they were first embarked on the journey.

Some today are feeling this emotion over the virus and last year’s troubles. They are feeling the weight of belonging rather than joy. If this is you, ask yourself:
 What permission do you need to give yourself so you can have the freedom to let your gifts out in this group? What emotion accompanies this permission, relief, joy, resentment?
 Are you measuring yourself by standards in today’s society or peer pressure that really do not serve you?
 Prior to joining this group, what activities have I sacrificed that I really thought were fulfilling for me? Do I need to renew those activities?
 If not, can you pay the cost of continuing to participate in this group?

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Cost of Belonging