Talking with a professional offers a better understanding of your unique reasons for developing codependent behaviors. Once your codependent behaviors are fully understood, your chances of developing future codependent relationships are lowered, and your chances of having mutually satisfying and healthy relationships rise. Where to Go from Here The need to belong is an innate human drive. We all seek to feel and to be a part of something greater than ourselves--whether an e-tribe, Facearticle group, family, peer group, religious community, or professional association. Furthermore, psychologists see belongingness as a remedy to feelings of loneliness and alienation. But for so many, achieving a genuine sense of belonging and affiliation is a lifelong challenge. Issues around attachment, personality disorders, anxiety, or trauma stemming back to our early life are some of the many reasons we may struggle to meet our need for connection and belongingness. One company promises that its virtual assistant will provide you with motivational text messages throughout the day, like a friend. If you need some extra accountability and motivation to meet your goals, my suggestion would be to forget the app and find a real friend to train with and offer mutual encouragement. As Brad Stulberg wrote in an insightful story on this topic, It's a lot harder to ignore a training partner than it is to ignore a wrist strap. Look at your calendars and find mutually convenient times for working out that you know you can stick to, whether that's when you get home from the office or early in the morning. Also establish how many times a week you're going to work out together, and be realistic about blackout days when you know your kids have activities or you have date night with your significant other. A Culture of Obsession It's all too easy to see obsession in our society. We're fixated on our sports teams, our favorite brands, the exercises we prefer and the diets we follow. We're even obsessed with ourselves: how we look and what we're able to do. And, of course, we're obsessed with technology. If you turn your back on everything, we can't come to understand why we failed you and how we can do better. Giving your community that opportunity allows us to be better, not just for you, but for the many others in similar circumstances.

The world needs to adapt to make space for you and others like you. We need you. I need you. So keep going, okay? I won't promise that tomorrow will be better. But somewhere, somehow, I know that you can find a reason to keep going. I know that eventually the pain you are feeling now--and whatever you are going to learn from it--will help make the world a better place. I believe in you. In an era where belonging seems it would be easier to achieve, researchers say we're actually more lonely and disconnected than ever. Using social media to foster a sense of belonging is not without its limitations and potential adverse side effects, of course. As we've seen, researchers have identified a connection between social-media use and loneliness, lower perceptions of social skills, academic procrastination, social isolation, increased negative thoughts and emotions after a romantic separation, increased opportunity to experience cyberbullying, and reduced academic performance. But it's not all bad news. There are ways in which social media and various social-networking sites can jump-start otherwise-dormant feelings of belonging. Specifically, social media has been found to facilitate offline social interactions and help us expand our social circles by increasing the sheer numbers of people with whom we interact on a daily basis, to provide corrective emotional experiences, and to deepen the quality of our friendships. While psychological pitfalls associated with social-media use do exist, studies show they can be moderated by decreasing the amount of time we spend online, being clear about our motivation and intentions when using social media, using appropriate privacy settings, and being mindful of the quality of our online friendships established via social media. Below are five recommendations to help get you started along the path to feeling a more profound sense of belonging. Recommendations Create an authentic social-media profile that represents your accomplishments and genuine passions, interests, and personal values. Who's Your Tribe? One of the reasons that people flock to stadiums and bars to watch their favorite team play each week is that team sports offers the kind of tribal affiliations that six million years of evolution have taught us we need to survive.

That's why we buy all-access cable TV packages, join fantasy leagues, and clothe ourselves and our kids in brightly colored jerseys--not to mention hating those people over there because that red gear they're wearing means they're our archrivals. Over the past few years, we've seen the same kind of tribalism become more prevalent in certain fitness movements and among adherents to specific brands. It's not enough to just wear the t-shirt and put the bumper sticker on your car. You're also expected to buy in wholesale to their training philosophy and mock all other, lesser systems. If you're part of their in-group, you need to eat the way they do, too. This is the new dogmatism. It's not just fitness brands that are getting in on the tribal action; If you're wearing a certain type of wearable, you're one of us now, like the devotees of the omniscient social media platform in the film The Circle, whom Tom Hanks's character calls his Circlers. BRINGING IT HOME The next time you're jonesing for the ice cream that looked oh-so-good on that TV commercial or tempted by the Buy Now/Pay Later fantasy of owning the vacuum cleaner of your dreams, it's helpful to become more aware of your sudden turn to autopilot. Then pause. That's all. Just break the automatic reactivity. I gave you some tools, such as mindfulness techniques and grounding exercises, to make it easier. Eventually you'll be able to laugh at the impulse, see that your brain has been hijacked, and make a more thoughtful choice. I know it's not as easy as it sounds. You won't see the effect of the pause immediately, but research shows that having individual experiences of breaking impulsivity is additive in its own right and contributes to breaking habitual responses over the long run. Know, too, that sometimes ice cream--or a new vacuum cleaner--constitutes the best choice! The more authentic you are both online and offline, the more open you'll be to experiencing real feelings of connection and belonging. We pay a high price when we aren't attuned to our true selves.

For example, we might pursue a profession that doesn't reflect our genuine interests, or we might stay in relationships for too long with people with whom we genuinely don't have much in common. Join an online group. Whether it is a group about cats or a fan group about famous Russian authors, being a part of something greater than yourself, online and offline, is necessary for achieving belongingness. Maximize positive lived shared experiences with those who are important to you, online and offline. Sharing positive experiences and good news deepens bonds and attachments, all of which promotes feelings of belongingness. Say yes to invitations to connect, online and offline. Every invitation is a chance to connect with those around you and therefore maximize your sense of belongingness in the world. Find your authentic voice, online and offline. Online mapping and tracking apps inspire similar levels of fanaticism and often have their own lexicon that each newbie should be given a cheat sheet to decode. Some might say that what we're looking at here is a community that creates a sense of belonging, which is valid for certain people who know how to keep their membership of a particular fitness tribe in check. The issue is that many can't help but become zealots and let their participation morph into a cultlike, brainwashed adherence to every point in the handarticle. I've seen enough of this phenomenon from the inside to know that such tribalism is not only exclusionary and cliquey but can also become extremely unhealthy. There's nothing wrong with feeling an affinity to a sport or group, but how much fun is it to be around friends who can talk of nothing but the supreme awesomeness of their latest fitness fad? When complete devotion to an organization or product starts to become bigger than anything else in your life, it's time to take a step back and look at what that means for your relationships, your family life, and your own individuality. Sticking to a system article and verse vastly limits your potential for exploration and growth, and letting a certain technology dominate your thinking and actions leads all too quickly down a path on which your decisions are no longer your own. You Are More Than Your Race Results One of the pitfalls of going all-in with a certain sport is that you can come to a place where your entire identity is wrapped up in your performance. We often see this on social media--the friend who only posts about her latest cycling exploits or the cousin who seems fixated on how much he's lifting in the gym each day. Contemplative practices like those described in this article don't just help us sit with difficult emotions and change our behaviors. These practices can also reveal the narratives we've internalized to understand the world, help us develop more empathy for others, and help us become more intentional in how we respond to others and engage in the world.

They can be the bedrock for social change. Also, remember that your resiliency is bound up in others and in social institutions. Recognizing that there are external contributors to resilience helps us lessen the self-blame that may arise when we struggle. When you're going through a hard time, try turning to the people around you and looking for outside resources that can bolster you. Recognizing that our resiliency isn't just about being strong and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps can also highlight the need to help people build their support systems--and to provide the structural support that allows individuals and communities to thrive. Now that you've got some of the practical tools to explore your inner world and bounce back when life throws you curve balls, let's turn our attention to the self-love movement. Can it help get us out of this mess? Dr John Watson is his assistant and friend. Our most meaningful connections are with those by whom we feel entirely accepted and understood. Jane Howard, Families (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978). Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Layton, Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review, PLoS Medicine 7, no. Helen Keller reportedly repeated this sentiment while on a touring circuit with Anne Sullivan, the governess and companion who had taught Keller as a young girl, blind and deaf from a childhood illness, to communicate by spelling words into her hand. From Joseph P. Lash, Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy (New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, New York, 1980), 489. Baumeister and Mark R. Leary, The Need to Belong: Desire for Interpersonal Attachments as a Fundamental Human Motivation, Psychological Bulletin 117, no. When it comes to competitive or pro athletes, limiting your sense of self-worth to your training and race results is a dangerous game that you lose each time you fall short of your own expectations. Lenny Wiersma has seen this play out with Olympians time and time again but believes there's a simple antidote: The athletes who have the healthiest perspectives are those that have a broad range of interests outside their sport and other hobbies, he said.