Several times each day we face the question, where do I belong? Our answers define us, as the marketers of social media have learned from our clicks!

There are many levels of belonging. We inherit some like our family of origin or our cohort at school. We choose others like our relationships, livelihood, neighborhood, spirituality, political affiliations and many more.

What are the criteria we use when we choose to belong? For me feeling “at home” is a good indicator that encompasses four qualities – safe, affirming, congruent and stretching.

I am at home and seek to belong with people and situations where I feel safe physically and emotionally. I also choose to belong where I am recognized and appreciated for who I am, not only for the things I do effectively but my foibles and shortcomings as well. I was blessed that my family of origin provided those qualities. They have served as benchmarks throughout my life. I am also aware that for many folks their family of origin was not a safe and affirming zone.

My livelihood has been an unfolding journey with each employment bringing me closer to congruency with my vocation and core values. No doubt, beckoning curiosity has played a role – can I or can’t I? Also, integral to each job have been the challenges and acceptable risks that have stretched me to grow in understanding and competence.

I am aware of and grateful for my privilege of choosing to live and belong to those individuals, groups, places and causes that most reflect the world of my values.

Where do you choose to belong? What are your criteria? It might be instructive today to be aware of the answers you click in response.