Longing for Belonging

The Christmas season can be such a beautiful time of the year; twinkling lights, festive decorations, nostalgic music, fun parties and too much tasty food. It can also be a painful time because it often highlights losses. The loss of a loved one or the absence of those who have moved on, through divorce or moving away, can be devastating . We may feel off balance – something just isn’t right, or the way it used to be. This time of year shines a light on feeling that we may not belong where we used to or feel we should, in our own family. Sometimes we can feel like we don’t belong anywhere.

I grew up with a house full of people, 10 people to be exact, and now I have little in common with any of them. But I do love them. , I stay in touch with phone calls and occasional visits, but often these feel superficial, like I am not able bring all of myself to the party. If I try, they seem to shift around uneasily, changing the subject. So I focus on the good parts of the past (what we do have in common) and avoid anything too deep. But it is often unsatisfying. I had to come to terms with being a “part” of a family, but not actually feeling like I “belonged” anymore (did I ever?). As I struggled with this, I found relief in learning that my family of origin is not necessarily my “tribe” as in “my” people, or “my” community. Your family may not be your tribe either. Try that on. Some members of your family might be part of your tribe but just as likely, they are not. And it’s okay. Perhaps they were never intended for that purpose. Doesn’t mean they are bad in anyway. Just not people I would want to be on a deserted island with. Fortunately, I have been able to figure out how to love them, stay in touch but not try to “belong”. This has been freeing for me. But our desire to belong still remains.

When I saw that Brene Brown had a new book on Belonging, I raced to get it. Well, not actually raced, more like, quickly visited Amazon and purchased a copy of “Braving the Wilderness”. I love buying books on Amazon. I always find it is much cheaper to purchase books from Amazon than from book stores these days. Besides, no one wants to purchase a book, only to find out that it was on sale for half price somewhere else! Whenever I order books from Amazon, I also like to check for any promo codes or coupons too. Accordingly, if you would like to order this book from Amazon, you can go here to see if there are any promo codes that you can use to get a discount on your order. That being said, this book was a good read. After all, we all long to belong. Belonging is a topic that comes up with my friends and coaching clients often… I have even begun initiating this conversation on belonging with friends, including my dear friend Henry Cloud. (see the video in this newsletter). During that conversation, Henry made an interesting connection for me on this topic. He said that when Adam & Eve sinned, they suddenly no longer belonged in the garden. Their wrong choice had cut them off from God and Paradise. They were banished from the only home they knew. Banished from the presence of God, their close friend. How awful they must have felt. They no longer belonged. Yes, we all know that God provided His son Jesus, to make atonement for their sins, and our sins, so we could belong to the family of God. And I am grateful He did. But something got broken and now “belonging” remains a struggle for so many of us. Our need to belong is deep within us.
It is worthwhile to examine how you feel about true belonging. Who are the people in your life that you consider to be your real family? Where you can bring all of yourself, the good parts, the hurt parts, and the bad parts? The people who love you, without judgement and accept you as you are but continue to push you to be your best? My hope is that you will spend time this Christmas season with more of those kinds people. If you do, you will feel a sense of true belonging. Make this the gift to yourself and your Christmas will be more joyful, and more satisfying. Don’t just do this for Christmas. Make it part of your strategy for living a rich, full and rewarding life.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year!

Maureen Price
Executive Director
GrowthSkills Foundation


  1. Liz Zeller on December 20, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Love this Maureen. It has been true of my family also and could never quite figure out why. I am extremely close to some, and cooly distant from most. I sure wish I would have realized this much earlier in life instead of wondering for so long “what’s wrong with me?”

  2. Annamae Sterling on December 20, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Thank-you for your message . I have been exploring that very topic at this time . I have never had anyone to accept the good parts of me and the bad parts of me as a born-again Christian with a view to growth . I am sensing this need for belonging. Henry Cloud’s point about being banished from their best friend (God) because of their wrong choices touched me as well. Christians are still human!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  3. Janet Jaworski on December 20, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Thank you very much for sharing this! Very, very helpful to me. I grew up in a family of 6. My precious parents have
    been gone a long time. I have 3 siblings, 2 brothers & 1 sister who I love dearly.
    I have been on the growth path for quite some time and after a lot of hard work in facing my own FOO issues, I can now begin to make choices that are made from a position of self-respect and can choose who I want to spend my valuable time with. It hasn’t been easy, but well worth it!
    Drs Cloud & Townsend have been so instrumental in helping me to stay on
    my personal growth journey. It all started with BOUNDARIES…Thanks guys! I would listen to “The Boys” on The New Life Radio Call-in Program everyday for about 3 years straight. Free counseling for me and I have often shared…”I knew I was getting healthier when they would go to a commercial, and I would be thinking like them” as I considered the callers request.

    I have a desire to attend A One Week Intensive. It is on my goals list!

    This year I accepted an invite from a gal who had it on her heart to host Christmas Day Dinner for those who don’t have family in the area. I met her at a small group at church. I am really looking forward to it. There will be 6 of us and a few drop ins with games to follow…
    Sent cards to family and warm wishes. I give myself permission to make choices that are good for me.

    Thank you again for sharing! Truly, it resonated with me in a very deep level and tears began to flow as I was just about at the end.
    It wrapped up everything so well and right where I am at.
    Thank you SO very much Maureen!!
    Smiling at you
    Merry Christmas to you and may this New Year be your best yet!!

  4. Cindi Finley on December 20, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Your description of “not being able your whole self” was so very descriptive of my struggle also…I had an unexpected breakthrough recently at the graveside of a Long lost cousin.
    I drove away from the very small gathering very satisfied because I was able to show up for myself and share my real self…no regrets…I was struck by the amount of life God breathed into me amongst the headstones…
    Hope is building as I am clearing out my emotional closet to make room for my tribe…
    Your comments struck a deep chord…
    Christmas Blessings Maureen

  5. Joani Freeman on December 20, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Thank you Maureen for this very interesting, insightful and encouraging message. I have struggled with family not seeming or acting like what I would call “family” and have not looked at it from the perspective you have presented. Given me much food for thought. I can see where I’ve been expecting out of others when I probably should have been accepting them for who they are in our relationship and not always feeling like something is wrong and trying to make it something it’s not. Very freeing! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Merry Christmas!

  6. Maria Rodriguez on December 20, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Excellent article! Thank you so much for your strength in sharing your story!

  7. Brian Norwood on December 20, 2017 at 9:52 am

    You are dead on correct. Our original family of origin more often than not are a stumbling block to what GOD has for us.

    • Maureen on September 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      HI Brian,
      I realize this reply is ridiculously late but here I am anyway Thanks for your comment. I would like to push back a bit thought. Our family of origin was no accident, though it often feels that way. It was where we begin forming and growing but we are not intended to stay planted there when we reach a certain age . Rather than think of them as an obstacle, how about thinking that they are an opportunity for us to grow more, to stretch and become our best selves, loving and accepting of their flaws. After all, we are flawed too, just in a different way. People and situations that are difficult for us, really provide an opportunity to be better. We just need to look at this family thing with a different perspective. Just my thoughts. Thanks again!

  8. Kattie B. on December 20, 2017 at 11:17 am

    This article is so germane to my own experience including the family of ten. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for your encouraging words.

  9. Bobby Spencer on December 20, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Excellent article and encoragement that is right on time for my current season of life. Thank you!

  10. Mike Chambers on December 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Well said, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I wrote a manuscript on “Belonging” years ago. I sometimes teach a class on it at Saddleback Church (Lake Forest).

  11. Katherina Sengbusch on December 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you Maureen
    I appreciate your article very much!
    Merry Christmas!

  12. Jeanette Gallego on December 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing?. Yes I have these feelings of not knowing, where I belong. I have felt this for a few years now that i’m older (58). Just a few months ago. I said to my self I have lots of acquaintances. Just a few friends. I have so much to share about similar feeling,but i don’t know how to even Sought out feelings on this topic.. Thank for. Jeanette

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