Connection. It’s something we look for every single day. We are born connected. The second our umbilical cord is cut we crave connection, from our mothers, fathers, family, friends, lovers, the world. But as we get older, we go through different things and everything that is life becomes a giant obstacle that can prevent us from having healthy connections. Instead, we create unhealthy or dishonest connections that can drown us. Then we slowly begin to drift and isolate. We manage to cope with our vices, until we start to disconnect with ourselves and that’s when we begin to suffer. 

That feeling of connection with another person, a place, a time, an experience is something we seek out every single day because we want to feel that sense of belonging, but what does belonging even mean?

Belonging by definition means: an affinity for a place or situation.

And affinity by definition means: A natural liking for and understanding of someone or something.

All we really want is to be seen but to be seen as ourselves. And that can happen anywhere, even with people who are totally different from you or with people who want different things and believe different things than you do.
That’s why you can find belonging around your dinner table, or at work, or at your local coffee shop, or even with people that live on the other side of the world.

But that’s also why, sometimes, we don’t find belonging in any of those places because belonging isn’t about the people or the place, it’s about how we show up.

Coming back to Hercegovina, to my family here was a different experience to the previous two times I was there. And why there was this feeling of nervousness was because it was almost as if they were going to be meeting someone they had never met before for the very first time all over again. 

It took me a while but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to walk out of someone’s life if you feel you no longer belong there. Whether that’s with a long term partner, someone you thought was a close friend or anyone surrounding you that doesn’t help you grow into a better version of yourself. Because when you’re truly yourself the right people that belong in your life will seek you out.

See the difference between fitting in and belonging somewhere is that when you’re aiming to fit in, you assess the situation from a point of view that forces you to change who you are in order to fit in. 

Belonging somewhere means you don’t have to change who you are. You’re already accepted. So if you’re faced with a situation where you’re forced to adjust who you are in order to fit someone else’s view, I say, fuck that. 

That sense of belonging is formed by connection and connection is the experience of oneness. It’s having shared experiences, relatable feelings, or similar ideas.

We’ve developed a world designed to create more connection than ever before, yet somehow, we feel the most disconnected. Why? Because now it’s inauthentic connection—which doesn’t work. You can’t force or fake oneness. It’s not something you intellectualise. It’s something you feel.

And if our core human need is to connect with others, then the most important part of healing our emotional wounds is allowing ourselves to open up again. It’s simply our willingness to show up as we are, and trust that we will be okay. It’s our judgement to give our time and energy to those who respect and cherish it back. And, most importantly, it’s the knowledge that even if we do have to go through the fires of life - as all of us do - we come out the other end stronger, clearer, and more ready to appreciate what we have.

Most people believe a connection is something they earn by being “good enough” when it is really something they develop by being willing enough. All belonging really is, is the feeling of being accepted under the conditions that you are nothing but yourself and that’s what we hope to find one day, someone to accept and love us for just that. 

And maybe someday we’ll find someone to love us for who we are. And they will see past every single one of our flaws and will instead embrace them because they’re just as flawed. So understand this, the right person won’t try to complete you because they already know you’re complete. Instead, the right person will extend you, they’ll open you up to new experiences and new ways of seeing life. They will grow you because they know you’re capable of so much more than you think you are. They see it in you, every single day. 

So what did I learn being back here? That all we’re really doing in life is seeking honest connections because that’s what re-connects us with us. And whilst we’re seeking that out, what we need to ask ourselves is, are the connections and experiences we are creating honest? If they aren’t, no matter how much something makes sense or appears good, they won’t contribute to who we’re supposed to be and where we’re supposed to go. It’s not just about feeling good. Feeling good doesn’t always equal honest. It’s usually things that don’t feel good that end up being the best prescription. And we usually don’t know until later, which makes growing up so fucking hard.

But then ultimately these honest connections create something that is greater than us, a relationship, a movement, a belief, a sense of belonging to something bigger than we’d thought. And that’s when we feel whole again. Complete.

WORDS: Monique Medved
INSTAGRAM: @moniquemedved


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