What does it mean to Belong

We are social beings seeking connections and every person has a desire to belong. It is in these connections that we find our belonging. We are even willing to make adjustments and changes so that we may feel like one with our friends, our families, our co-workers, and so on. If I am out with my friends, I may behave in a particular manner so that I feel accepted and be one with them. However back home I may not exhibit the same behavior as what is acceptable at home may differ. So at home, I may belong with my family through another set of behaviors. These become my rules for belonging to my family.

So what happens if I do not share the same view held by other members of my family. Each family has certain beliefs and views and in a way, this becomes a rule for belonging to a particular family unit. Those who go against the beliefs, or hold a different view may be made to feel as not worth being a part of the family, or the person with a different take on life can feel like an outsider, and hence feel different than the others. This difference sets in a feeling of exclusion.

In family constellations, there is a lot of focus on exclusion and its impact on an individual as well as its impact on the entire family unit. When someone is removed from the whole, in other words, excluded from a larger unit, then there is a sense of imbalance felt by other members of a family, and this impact can continue for generations even when the excluded person may no longer be living.

In his book “no waves without the ocean” Bert Hellinger mentions that “if those who died have been excluded or forgotten and are then accepted back into the family again, it gives a sense of completeness to all family members. When everyone is accepted in the family, the living feel fulfilled and free.”  This Acceptance brings about a feeling of wholeness. 

So how do I accept everyone within my family system? I do it by acknowledging them, even the ones who have been excluded by other family members. To me, acknowledgment is about giving the person a place in my heart. I may not agree with the actions or behavior of the person but by giving the person a place in my heart, I also accord the person their rightful place in the entire family structure.

What I love the most about constellation work is this right to belong to your family, irrespective of your views or beliefs. In a family constellation, there is no distinction between any family member. All have the same right to belong – the ones who hold the family views and the ones who do not. What I love about this work is the complete acceptance of every individual without a moral judgment of right or wrong. Belonging means being a part of and every person is a part of the family regardless of his or her behavior, thought, or action. It gives every person a rightful place.

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