Human beings have an inherent need to belong and when this need is not fulfilled, it can lead to all kinds of problems. Many years ago, if one wasn’t part of the tribe, their time on this earth would soon come to an end.

In some parts of the world this is still going to be the case, however, in the modern day world, it doesn’t always lead to death. Someone can feel as though they don’t belong and live a life that reflects how they feel, and while they’re unlikely to thrive, they could still be able to survive.

Two Reasons

The need to belong is not just something that is important part of one’s ability to survive; it is also an important part of one’s mental and emotional health. Just because one is getting what they need to take care of their physical needs, it doesn’t mean that they’re emotional needs are being fulfilled.

Ones survival is the not under threat, but this doesn’t mean that one is going to feel complete. As a result of this, one is likely to feel that something is missing or they could be aware of the fact that they don’t belong where they are.

On The Surface

Whether one is unaware of the fact that they don’t belong or whether it is something they are aware of, it is still going to create pain. The primary difference will relate to if one has consciously worked out what is taking place or if they haven’t.

This is not to say that one comes across as being out of place or that they’re missing something, as one could appear to have it all together on the outside. The people around them are then being deceived and have no idea how one truly feels about their life or a certain area of it.


Then there are going to be people who feel as though they don’t belong and it is clear to see. In this case, one might live on the sidelines of life or even on the outskirts of society. They might be described as ‘loners’ or ‘outcasts’; it just hasn’t been possible for them to integrate into society.

In other cases, one might be around others and find it hard to join in; other people might ask them if they want to join or to get involved in something, and one rejects the opportunity. It is then not so much about one getting the right opportunities as it is about one accepting the ones that do appear.

Areas of Life

On ones side, one could feel as though they don’t belong no matter where they are or what they are doing. There is also the chance that this is an outlook that doesn’t always appear and it might only arise during certain moments.

This might be hard to believe, especially if this is something that one experiences so often. However, it could happen when one is around people who make them feel welcome and for that time, one is able to just be. How they usually feel is then put to one side and one is able to feel that they belong.

Part Of Life

As human beings, some people will accept us and some people won’t, but just because someone doesn’t accept us, it doesn’t mean that we’re therefore unacceptable. The same applies to a sense of belonging; just because one doesn’t feel as though they belong around someone or a group of people, it doesn’t mean that they don’t belong on the planet.

A Sense Of Belonging

While one might feel that they don’t belong around someone or a group of people, it won’t go any further when they have a sense of belonging. Once they have left the situation that caused them to feel as though they don’t belong, they are likely to settle down.

This comes down to the fact that one knows at a deeper level that they deserve to exist and that they belong on planet earth. Through having this outlook, one is likely to feel connected to others and that they’re supported. So their physical need to belong is being met and so is their mental and emotional need.

Same Planet, Different Experience

Although human beings live on the same planet, their experiences on the planet can be radically different, and this is without even taking two people from different sides of the planet or selecting people from different backgrounds.

So while some people will live a life where they generally feel as though they belong, there are going to be other people who rarely, if ever, feel this way. Some people could be seen as being lucky and having something that other people don’t have, amongst other things.

Going Deeper

The mind can come up with all kinds of reasons as to why things happen, but these reasons are not always accurate. This is because the answers are not always in the mind; they can end up being in the body.

Toxic Shame

One thing that can stop one from feeling as though they belong is when they’re carrying toxic shame. This is going to cause one to feel as though they’re flawed and that they are inherently worthless.

Physically they are human, but they feel as though they are less than other human beings. If it was healthy shame, one would feel bad and then it would soon subside; in this case, one is bad and it doesn’t go away.


So if one feels this way, it is not much of a surprise if they don’t feel as though they belong in life. For if one is inherently flawed and less than human, they might not want to be around others, or they could feel like a burden. Even though other people are their fellow human beings, one could feel as though they are different to others.


Toxic shame can be caused by adult experiences and due to what happened in ones childhood years. One might have experienced: verbal, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse.

When it relates to ones childhood experiences, it can be harder for them to detach from their shame as it will be how they have experienced life for so long. It might not stand out and can just be seen as who they are.


The toxic shame that is trapped in one’s body will need to be faced and released and there could also be the following feelings: rage, abandonment, hopelessness, grief and death. In order to process these emotional experiences, the assistance of a therapist or a healer is likely to be needed.

Author's Bio: 

Prolific writer, thought leader and coach, Oliver JR Cooper hails from the United Kingdom. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation; love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With several hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behavior, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. Current projects include "A Dialogue With The Heart" and "Communication Made Easy."

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