By Lorène Belotti, Guest Blogger September 14, 2015
Here we are, summer is over and the new school year has begun.You may still be getting used to a new environment, new faces, and a new life. Although I’m not a student anymore, I feel the same about the unknown as I did in my young adult life.
Looking for a job is like trying to find a new class where you can fit in. At a job interview, you need to observe, to understand the company’s code, to adapt. It’s hard to know if you made the right choice but there’s a good indicator: the sense of belonging.
What does it really mean to “belong” and how do you know you do? The definition of the sense of belonging is to be able to identify yourself with a group, a team, a company. It’s standing together, showing solidarity and feeling valuable to your team /group/social microcosm. If you feel you belong, you’ll tend to adopt the group’s codes and values which will give you a purpose. You’ll feel stronger and safer than alone.
Said like that, it seems that to be part of something is all amazing. But there’s another side of the coin. The sense of belonging can be as destroying as boosting. We all know how a group’s balance is fragile. There is a big danger to existing solely through your group.
image via iblogmagazine.com
It’s very interesting to compare the US and the French society on this topic. I feel like in the USA, people are very involved in the community. At school already, there are a lot of associations to be part of while we have nothing in France and we envy you a lot for that! The most convincing example is the fraternities and sororities at University.
We don’t have these in France and that’s a pity if we consider the aim of these groups is to integrate and to bring together the people who share the same values. However, how many shabby stories have we heard about hazing? About people tolerating humiliation, ready to do the most degrading things to join this so-called “elite” assembly? Hazing exists in France as well, only in very renowned schools and it’s been forbidden by law for a couple of years, but we keep hearing stories…
Is the group more important than your self-respect, your values, your opinions, your own voice? I don’t think so. You should belong to a group that cheers you up, backs you up, and pushes you to be the best version of yourself. AND is ready to help you when you fall. It should be a help not a hindrance to your self-development.
I personally always feel better after interacting with IATG girls, seeing that somewhere in this world, ladies are like me, believing in the same things and struggling with the same fears.
you’re the master of your ship and need to feel good with yourself before feeling good with someone else.
The group that you belong to should not threaten your moral or physical integrity or make you lose your self-esteem. Just like in every relationship, keep in mind that you’re the master of your ship and need to feel good with yourself before feeling good with someone else.
Choose your team well and enjoy it! Just don’t let the group opinions, acts, or beliefs take over your own. You matter more than the group label.
What is your favorite group or team that you've ever belonged to? Tell us below!
Lorène is a French observer and learner of life. She used to be a sports journalist while doing her Master’s degree and she loves writing and telling stories about great people too much not to go back to her first love soon. She lives in the French Alps, and loves to try to solve the world’s problems while having a great meal with her loved ones. She is passionate about foreign languages, self-development books, American TV shows, and people. Oh, and she’s a total nerd of Academic studies (when she’ll win the lottery, she’ll go to Harvard).
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.