“Well, when I started looking into belonging, and I started really wanting to understand the bones of belonging — what does it mean? How do we, from a researcher’s perspective — and probably my own personal armor, really — is: What are the data here? What exactly is happening here? And I think the first thing that was surprising to me is that at the very heart of belonging is spirituality — not religion, not dogma, but spirituality — and a very important, specific tenet of spirituality, which I believe cuts across faith and denomination and belief system. And by “spirituality” I mean the deeply held belief that we’re inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us. And that thing that is greater than us is rooted in love and compassion — that there’s something bigger than us and that we are connected to each other in a way that cannot be severed.

And so when I started to look at belonging, what I realized is that it is a spiritual practice, and it’s the spiritual practice of believing in ourselves and belonging to ourselves so fully that we find what’s sacred in not only being a part of something, like our DNA calls us to be, but also, we find sacred the need, on occasion, to stand alone in our values, in our beliefs, when we’re called to do that, as well. And so, to me, this idea of true belonging is a type of belonging that never requires us to be inauthentic or change who we are, but a type of belonging that demands who we are — that we be who we are — even when we jeopardize connection with other people, even when we have to say, “I disagree. That’s not funny. I’m not on board.””

Source: Brené Brown, On Being with Krista Tippett