The next few Wellness Wednesdays will focus on our mental health and our social and emotional well-being. The pandemic as well as numerous other events in our country and world have taken a toll on our mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Fundamental to our mental health is whether or not we experience belonging. Our Wellness Wednesday on July 15, 2020, discussed belonging as a basic human need that is satisfied when we are accepted by others for being our True Self. In an attempt to satisfy this need, we sometimes try to fit in. We do so by changing something about ourselves or pretending to be something we aren’t in order to be accepted. Fitting in never satisfies our need for belonging because we are not being accepted as our True Self.

The blue puzzle character in the following cartoon exemplifies what this is like. In order to belong, it changes itself in order to fit in.

Dorothy Koomson shares the human consequence of trying to belong by fitting in.

Dr. David Walsh, a long-time friend who has dedicated his professional life to helping parents and educators understand and nurture the lives of adolescence, once said to me, “Connection and belonging prime the brain for learning.” After asking him what that meant, David informed me that the brain is a social organism always trying to make connections. When connections or belonging occur, then the brain is ready to learn. In other words, connection and belonging create a shift that allows us to use a different part of our brain. Without experiencing connection or belonging, we don’t activate that part of our brain.

“Whatever makes you different,

that’s exactly who you are here to be,

not someone who “fits” with everyone else.”

Stephanie Zamora

Stephanie’s quote suggests that self-acceptance is fundamental to experiencing belonging. We need to accept who we are. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we stop improving or trying to  overcome negative habits. Self-acceptance means that we are developing and embracing our True Self.

Wellness happens when belonging happens.

Belonging happens when I am being my True Self.


  1. How am I experiencing my need to belong?
  2. How am I experiencing self-acceptance?
  3. How is my experience of belonging and self-acceptance related to my well-being?

Grateful to my partners…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…for creating a team of belonging.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training