Two words…major impact if felt, if believed:  You Belong.  My dad had a super skill at inclusion.  No matter how disparate the group, he could pull folks together into a union of purpose, whether specific tasks were on the agenda or if shenanigans and celebrations were on deck. 

In my Heart of the Matter post this morning, I share a childhood story about my dad’s skill set in fortitude and love…involving a sweet girl and her ‘dirty socks’.  An unlikely tale, perhaps, but a lesson to eagle-eyed “Little Vicki” nonetheless that sidelining people and/or being judgmental is a no-go.  No, nope, never.  Arms wide, hearts open.  Differences ARE good. 

My father didn’t have the advantage of a formal college education, but I like to think he had a master’s degree in people skills.  He understood the importance of belonging and demonstrated, throughout his life, the five pillars that Dr. Angela Theisen wrote about in a Mayo Clinic article

We’re not so evolved that reminders of five simple things will offend, right?  I think everyone can benefit from a nudge, given how fragile each of us can be at any moment in time.  With gratitude to Dr. Theisen, here’s an abridged version of her “five things” to boost belonging that I often share with those I care about:

  • Make an effort.
    The most crucial ingredient to building a sense of belonging is effort. You cannot belong if you don’t choose to make the effort to engage with others. It may feel uncomfortable at first to meet new people, but give it time, as you may need to practice self-talk.
  • Be mindful of others.
    Think less about yourself while with others and make the other person or the group your focus. Making conversation is critical to increasing your sense of belonging. It is important to mutually ask questions, make small talk, self-disclose skillfully and listen to people’s responses.
  • Keep and teach an open mind.
    Try new activities and meet new people. Consider new ways of thinking. Lead by example so your children can see how it works. Put in effort to seek activities and groups of people who you share common interests with. You may need to make it happen to start. Encourage and support your children to get involved.
  • Practice an attitude of acceptance.
    Recognize that others have different ways of being, which don’t have to change you. Focus on similarities rather than differences. Similarities tend to increase bonding. If you feel that people are not like you, focus on a mutual goal, such as a volunteer opportunity. Teach children to validate the feelings of others.
  • Validate action.
    If creating a sense of belonging is challenging for you, remember it is likely challenging for your child, as well. Give them the encouragement you would give yourself. Validate them, just like you need to validate your own action.

Cheers and hugs from me to you…thank you for welcoming me into your world by reading.  I appreciate you. 

Vicki 😊

33 thoughts on “Making the Effort…With Love

  1. We can never be too evolved to have reminders like this, Victoria. The first one, ‘make an effort,’ resonates with me. Sometimes we can become isolated as writers and forget there is a wider world out there to be engaged with. Thanks for these thoughts to take into a new week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Davy. I believe I’m a work in progress…and I take all the reminders I can get!
      Thank you for reading and for sharing that sweet comment! Thoughts to take into a new week? I’m honored you think so! 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Make the effort, put yourself out there. Ain’t that the crux of it? I have to wonder how many people make the effort only to be shut down by people who are unreceptive to them, someone who is new & different. Getting over those unreceptive people takes effort, also, but in the form of resilience.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that, Ally. You’re right…getting over the ones who aren’t interested. That can be tricky, and I agree — doing so is a blessed form of resilience…the letting go. Thank you for that! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well some, but now other weirdness is popping up. I cannot help but ask myself—is it me or is it my computer? Or maybe a combination platter . . . looks like another call to Apple is on the agenda.😟Thanks for asking! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course! 😘Thinking about you because I seem to experience persistent, intermittent nonsense myself — I believe the universe IS held together by paper clips and glue…and bad tech mojo! Hoping you get relief soon. Xo! ❤️


  4. A master’s degree in people skills. Sometimes that’s more valuable than gold. Your dad and you’ve hit on something with this blog. I understand that need to feel a sense of belonging. We all feel at times like that we don’t belong. People like your dad (and you) who go out of their way to welcome others and to make them feel special, that goes such a long way. As one person who’s been there, I can say that those actions have made the biggest difference in the world. Love this blog, love the reminders too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Brian. There was a psychologist I loved – Nancy Schlossberg – who wrote about “marginality vs. mattering” — all about nuances of belonging and groups and reading her work had such a big impact on me when I was in school. Open arms, inclusion…as you said, welcoming…can make all the difference! Cheers to all of that and to you for your great comment. Thank you! 😘😊😘

      Liked by 1 person

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