Longing to Belong: How do I know I belong?

Longing Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFT“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” – Brene Brown

In this time of turmoil, unrest and uncertainty, inside and outside our country, when there are intensely vulnerable and scared people, we long to belong.

It is in these times, when feelings of being divided, fearful, hurt and angry, that we reach for each other, our community, our tribe, our family, our partners: our loved ones.

What has happened in the US in the last few years is more significant than the actual elections. It is the polarization, the hate, the hate crimes, and the insurmountable blocks and divide that have separated us.

What has happened is scary – not because of one man, or woman, no matter who he or she is, or what they espouse – but because of the huge division and disconnect it speaks to in the USA – that is scary indeed no matter what tribe of politics you identify with.

Longing Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFTThere is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen

As with my work with couples, it is the fights and the breakups that signal the fear and hurt. It is a protest against the disconnect. We need each other, we want to belong, and it is in times of stress and fear that we turn to our tribe as the need to belong becomes so acute.

We depend on each other, we have the urge to protect and the need to be protected, and we reach for those who we know will be there for us and with us, to connect and to belong.

Marsha Ferrick writes in her blog, ‘Relationships are about belonging. What makes or breaks a relationship? Belonging is a major component of maintaining a relationship. Belonging is an emotional connection with others that creates an inner peace. So, how do I know I belong?’ (http://amaraquest.com/tag/belonging/)

Longing Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFTI belong when someone…

  • pays attention to what I am saying and doing
  • really hears what I am saying
  • empathizes with the story I am telling
  • can reflect the essence of what I am sharing
  • respects my words, thoughts, and beliefs
  • accepts me as I am without trying to change me
  • honors the boundaries I assert
  • can share who they are with me
  • can tolerate my directness without distress

How do you know when you belong? Here is a great video by Sue Johnson, PhD: How to Love/Belong Intelligently

Longing to belong does not exist only in a pair bond relationship. Belonging is part of our DNA from the herds of the elks who roams the plains together, to the ant colonies, to the fish in the sea, or the birds on the cliff: safety is in connection.

Longing Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFT

In a recent visit to my home land in Israel, I went to visit the Kibbutz where I was born. A Kibbutz is A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture.  The main characteristics of Kibbutz life were established in adherence to collectivism in property alongside a cooperative character in the spheres of education, culture and social life. With this came the understanding that the Kibbutz member is part of a unit that is larger then just his own family.

As I was growing up in Israel in a small community that shared values and ideals, I remember the sense on security and belonging. People knew each other, they felt a shared sense of responsibility, and they knew with out doubt, that they were not alone, and that when they needed help or comfort there will always be someone there for them.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Theresa

Longing Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFTThose of you who are familiar with my work know that in my workshop and in my writings, I have always paid special tribute to a beloved poet, song writer, and singer, Leonard Cohen. He died this week at the age of 82, leaving us a legacy of poetry and music. He is sorely missed.

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love…”  –
Leonard Cohen

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in… We are all longing for that ‘safety in connection’, for that sense that we can let go of our anxieties, relax, knowing that we are held and witnessed. We want to know that ‘I am safe with you’, that when I need you, you will be there for me, and you have my back. We all need that.

Safety Blog by Dalia Anderman, MFT

To access our vulnerability and to work on our longing to belonging  in our relationships, I am offering my couples workshop.

For all of you who have been eagerly waiting for our next workshop announcement,  I’m delighted to be offering my next HMT couples workshop in Nevada City CA on January 28-29th, 2017. Owen Marcus, MA, author, workshop facilitator, and TEDxTalk presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, will once again be assisting me.

Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight Workshop, by offering his depth, support, and perspective to the couples in our workshop.

Here are the links to Owen’s work: http://owenmarcus.com
Owen’s TEDX talk: What 10,000 Years Of Progress Has Cost | Owen Marcus | TEDxSpokane

At our Hold Me Tight relationship enhancement Workshop – participants will learn and experience how to:

• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness and INTIMACY.


Hold Me Tight Workshop with Dalia Anderman, MFTAs I keep the groups small and intimate, if you know you want to sign up, I will encourage you to do so shortly, as they do tend to fill up.

This is a great opportunity to have a deeper and vulnerable look at your relationship, develop new skills to recognize the cycle and patterns that inflict the relationship and keep you separated and apart.

It is also a beautiful time to connect and highlight the strengths of your relationship, and build on the positives that already exist.

Please do not hesitate to Contact me with any questions or for more information. Looking forward to sharing the workshop with you and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Autumn season.

Warm regards,


(530) 692 0680