The Value of Belonging

Written By: Melinda Schneider, LPC, Thalia House Admissions & Primary Therapist 

“Your choice is whether or not to live a meaningful life.” – Steven C. Hayes (2005)

On Friday’s at Thalia House we take a deeper look at the importance of values, and the benefits of implementing those into our lives. We have learned through research and experience that implementing our values give us control of our life trajectory; taking away the control from our eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. It gives us the power to choose differently while creating purpose and meaning out of our life journey.
This week we are choosing to focus on the value of Belonging. Your thoughts are probably now running with thoughts and questions like; sure, everyone wants to belong, what does this have to do with recovery and Thalia House? These are all VALID and IMPORTANT questions to be asking yourself.

Belonging is a core need of all people; if it wasn’t, our culture would look nothing as it does today. Feeling as though you belong allows you, and me, to be vulnerable with our thoughts, emotions, fears, anxieties, and experiences that we often keep guarded. This vulnerability creates connection with other people. It provides the space for true, healthy, and equally beneficial relationships to bloom. So yes, everyone wants, and needs, a sense of belonging. And EVERYONE is capable of cultivating the relationships needed to fulfill this value.

“What does belonging have to do with recovery,” you ask? I might go to venture, that it has everything to do with recovery. Remember we just talked about belonging leading to healthy, beneficial relationships. Those relationships create the space for us to live, connected (not isolated) honest (not deceitful) lives. Those who are able to live connected and honest lives, don’t need their eating disorder behaviors to disconnect, hide, lie, manipulate, or numb our emotions, thoughts, or experiences. Cultivating a sense of belonging takes away a major motivator for eating disorder behaviors.

How do we cultivate belonging? By Being Vulnerable. By being willing to have honest, vulnerable, empathetic conversations where we can GIVE and RECEIVE empathy and validation that allow us to move forward. One of the reasons I believe in the Thalia House model so deeply, is because we, as a house, have created a platform for connect and belonging to thrive.

So- What can you do this week, to create belonging in your life?