Sense of Belonging – What it is, concept, importance and origin

We explain what the sense of belonging is, how it arises, why it is one of the human needs and its importance for society.

sense of belonging
The sense of belonging favors joint and coordinated group functioning.

What is the sense of belonging?

The sense of belonging or feeling of belonging is the subjective identification that an individual experiences with a group, an organization or a community, where you feel comfortable, welcome and / or accepted, that is, where you feel you belong. The sense of belonging it is a fundamental element in the constitution of communities human.

Whether it is nations, armies, organizations dedicated to work or sports teams, this feeling allows the members of a group to operate jointly and put the collective well-being before the individual to a certain degree. Without a well-established sense of belonging, it is much more difficult for human groups to function in a joint and coordinated way.

To some extent, the sense of belonging is forged naturally and spontaneously between individuals who share space and interests long enough. Ultimately, we are gregarious beings, and shared experience forges bonds of identity between us.

The problem is in the groups whose individuals do not share a good part of their daily lives, nor do they think in a similar way, or simply do not know each other, as occurs among the citizens of a country.

In those cases, the sense of belonging can be forged or built through education (civic, citizen, family, etc.) or indoctrination (ideological, religious, etc.). In both cases, they are transmitted value systems that foster in the individual the notion of being part of a much larger human group, which even predates its existence and to which it owes a certain degree of affinity, fidelity or respect.

In fact, the sense of belonging in the family environment is among the crucial factors for the adequate formation of the individual, since to the extent that they feel accepted, approved and integrated into the family nucleus, their self-esteem will be more solid. In fact, in the “Theory of human needs” formulated by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), the sense of belonging is part of the affective needs.

In conclusion, the sense of belonging is of great importance for our species, since our evolutionary success was based on the ability to cooperate facing the risks and dangers of nature. Hence, organizations and companies seek a greater commitment on the part of their workers, through the promotion of this feeling. This is what is often referred to as morality, a term derived from military jargon.