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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello my fellow INFJs!

I know a lot of us struggle with feeling too different.

I am just curious if any of you have experienced a sense of belonging at anytime in your life, be it with your church, temple, group of friends, a team, community, organization, etc. and if so what made you feel you belonged?

I found an interesting link here that explains the psychology of community if you care to have some food for thought. The Psychology of Communities – 4 Factors that Create a “Sense of Community” « The Community Manager

Here is another interesting one on social identity theory:

Social Identity Theory | Simply Psychology

A little bit more about my situation:

I have been a part of my church for the last few years, but I have never really felt that I belonged. No one really has reciprocated when I try building a friendship. It has been an emotionally painful experience. I am just wandering if its possible to pinpoint when you do feel like you belong. For me its been difficult to discern.

I have been having a major depressive episode with suicidal ideation for the last 2 months so I don't know how trustworthy my own judgements are when I am this depressed.
 

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For me it's easy. I belong where strong feelings reside. If I have someone like a star next to me, radiating kindness and feelings towards me, I belong there, in its orbit. Never tiring, never slowing down, never distancing, under the spell of the gravity and familiarity, made of the same material.

I'd probably put this more on my type 6 than on being INFJ, but hey, it works. Feed me genuine feelings, I will be stuck into a tidal lock, meaning I will always show you my face to you.

Does anybody else feel like they could belong to a place/person forever? I mean really really feel that? Or am I just a oddity?
 

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Hello my fellow INFJs!

I know a lot of us struggle with feeling too different.

I am just curious if any of you have experienced a sense of belonging at anytime in your life, be it with your church, temple, group of friends, a team, community, organization, etc. and if so what made you feel you belonged?

I found an interesting link here that explains the psychology of community if you care to have some food for thought. The Psychology of Communities – 4 Factors that Create a “Sense of Community” « The Community Manager

Here is another interesting one on social identity theory:

Social Identity Theory | Simply Psychology

A little bit more about my situation:

I have been a part of my church for the last few years, but I have never really felt that I belonged. No one really has reciprocated when I try building a friendship. It has been an emotionally painful experience. I am just wandering if its possible to pinpoint when you do feel like you belong. For me its been difficult to discern.

I have been having a major depressive episode with suicidal ideation for the last 2 months so I don't know how trustworthy my own judgements are when I am this depressed.

What constitutes a sense of belongingness in me is when the people around me understood me and accept me as who I am without trying to change me.

I have never felt belonged everywhere I go. But this is because I am surrounded by people who try to change me because they are afraid of differences.

Given that humans have multifaceted layers of complexity in them, I don't think it's possible for a human to ever fully understand another human. We can know someone for years yet we know nothing about them. The image that we project to people on the outside might not be the same as who we really are on the inside. So people's understanding of us is usually based on the image that we project to them on the outside, and not really who we are on the inside. For example, when people sees a quiet person, they will automatically think that quiet person is being rude and stuck-up, but who knows, that quiet person might have some other reasons behind their quiet persona, perhaps they might have selective mutism, perhaps they might have social anxiety, perhaps they might have hearing problems etc. Also, people are constantly evolving all the time, and who we are tomorrow might not be the same person as who we are today.

Anyway, back to the topic, imo that feeling of being understood doesn't really come from being understood itself, but that feeling actually comes from someone who is open-minded, non-judgemental and accepting. Someone who isn't afraid of differences between people, and someone who is willing to accept differences between people. When we encounter such a person, we will naturally feel understood by them and feel a belongingness with them, because we felt accepted by them, and deep down, every humans yearn to be accepted.

These days, I have given up trying to be understood by the people around me. Instead, I started going down the path of self-acceptance and I started learning how to accept myself. Once you start loving and accepting yourself, you will no longer care anymore about being understood or accepted by the people around you, because you have already accepted yourself, so other people's opinions of you no longer matters anymore.


P/S: Most importantly, remember there is always God for us to lean on. Even when you have been rejected by other humans, He will never reject you and He will always love you unconditionally.
 

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I think the closest I've gotten to feeling like I belong has been with musicians and psychologists. And fellow metalheads to some extent.

Based on the factors of the theory in the article, things look.. not so bright to be honest.

I've always had boundary issues and my hunger for intimacy, understanding, novelty, as well as systematic lapsing into altered states of consciousness has only helped disintegrate them even further. I am almost religiously progressive.

Emotional safety is a scarce resource in my world. My real emotions are probably walled better than Chernobyl's reactors and I am used to simmering in them alone, mostly.

I have actually made it a point to identify with as much as I can. Roles and professions, life circumstances of others, inanimate nature even. Since I quest for resonance, this is kind of a prerequisite. A consequence of this is that there is hardly anything I distinctly identify with much more than anything else. See first paragraph.

Personal investment is kind of easy. I stick my nose in a lot of places where it doesn't belong. When someone actually reciprocates it gives me good feelings. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but not as rarely as I fear either.

Common symbol system - one of the most important things for me, apparently. I've noticed that people I share one with tend to become my best friends. I can count them on one hand.

Influence. Like I said - I stick my nose everywhere. I have influenced the lives of people on the other side of the planet, some of them not being acquainted with even. I will often act for others and disregard myself momentarily, so this does not really feed my sense of belonging. If anything, it makes me feel more alone as it sets me up to feel (and be) exploited.

Integration and fulfillment of needs - I am always amazed when it happens. It happened here and that's why I'm still here. It didn't happen for my block, city, country, continent, racial group, age group, gender group, occupation group or anything like that. I am talking metaphysically, I guess. Of course I do and get favors and a cup of sugar from neighbors and so on.

Common history of experiences - no lack of shared experiences, but "common" is a function of perception also, and I rarely meet people who perceive things in a way similar to mine. That chasm gets bigger than the bridges across it with time.

I have gotten to a place where I can't draw the boundaries of what defines me. I feel kinship with almost all life. I feel like all of humanity is my family, even though I've only been to a few countries. Now I am looking to see if all of Earth can feel like home.
 

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I have found articles online about friendship and community can make someone feel bad for what they don't have. An article about how great community or true friendship can be depressing. Like what comedian David Cross says about Valentines day...people who are in love don't need a day to celebrate it and people who are not in love just have this day where the whole world is like ha ha you suck...

People who have community, great. Good for you. People who don't can't find it by reading an article.

If that makes any sense.

So I'm careful of that stuff. True friendship, true community , these things are sacred to me.

If a person is experiencing depression, they should keep seeking help because this is your health.

I am sorry to hear that your church community isn't providing a sense of belonging.
 

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Fleeting glimpses, for example feeling like a valued part of a social support group for an academic year or feeling like University level education is where I belong as the first generation to reach this level.
Personally I find sense of belonging to be rare and fleeting with groups or communities that still need to be more adaptive and progressive to suit the person I am tomorrow or next week not just today.
 

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For me it's easy. I belong where strong feelings reside. If I have someone like a star next to me, radiating kindness and feelings towards me, I belong there, in its orbit. Never tiring, never slowing down, never distancing, under the spell of the gravity and familiarity, made of the same material.

I'd probably put this more on my type 6 than on being INFJ, but hey, it works. Feed me genuine feelings, I will be stuck into a tidal lock, meaning I will always show you my face to you.

Does anybody else feel like they could belong to a place/person forever? I mean really really feel that? Or am I just a oddity?
Not an oddity, I've felt it. A sense of familiarity, comfort, trust, a sense of ease.. maybe because I'm a type 6 too.

I just had a flashback,
 
It was the first time in 4 years since I've been to the home I grew up in. As soon as I took my first step in the house, I felt this really strong feelings that I suddenly broke into tears. It was phenomenal, it's like walking right into the past.. the familiarity was amazing.. as if all those years I was lost and I finally got home. I saw the pencil outlines where we measured our heights, the fridge with the notes still on them! the serene fountain where I use to gather my thoughts.. everything, the walls, the chairs, the lounge room where we would have pizza and talk about everything, sleep walking down the stairs... It's when the past becomes as magical as a dream. It was where I belonged.. and a part of me still held on to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Reply to Schizoid

What constitutes a sense of belongingness in me is when the people around me understood me and accept me as who I am without trying to change me.

I have never felt belonged everywhere I go. But this is because I am surrounded by people who try to change me because they are afraid of differences.


I concur. I have a lot of unconventional ideas floating around inside my mind, many of which are controversial to most people. The few times I reveal them around people, they can't handle anything that remotely hints the way they are doing something might be wrong. Example: I don't go black Friday shopping because it disgusts me that we can say we were grateful and then less than 24 hours later kill each other in a stampede for things we don't need that are just going to wind up in the trash. However, I have made it a point to not shove my world views down someone elses throat and I know I am not aggressive about my views and some of the dearest people in my life go shopping on black Friday. This is just an example of the things people will misunderstand about me.


Anyway, back to the topic, imo that feeling of being understood doesn't really come from being understood itself, but that feeling actually comes from someone who is open-minded, non-judgemental and accepting. Someone who isn't afraid of differences between people, and someone who is willing to accept differences between people. When we encounter such a person, we will naturally feel understood by them and feel a belongingness with them, because we felt accepted by them, and deep down, every humans yearn to be accepted.


Exactly! This describes my best friend to a tee. She is an ENFP and the most loving non-judgemental person I know. Our world views are completely different on almost everything, but we maintain a high level of respect and understanding towards each other. I might have ended my life by now if people like her didn't exist in the world.




These days, I have given up trying to be understood by the people around me. Instead, I started going down the path of self-acceptance and I started learning how to accept myself. Once you start loving and accepting yourself, you will no longer care anymore about being understood or accepted by the people around you, because you have already accepted yourself, so other people's opinions of you no longer matters anymore.


I have been attempting this path more and more too. I am coming to terms with the fact that not everyone will like me, but there were tons of people who hated Jesus and that dude was perfect! The older I get, the more I realize good and bad personality traits don't exist; its all about perception and what people see as socially acceptable. (However, keep in mind that character flaws are for real! We have all known those people or been those people at some point in time.) In the same way good and bad emotions don't exist. Its all about what we do to channel them that can be good or bad. For example, I have reached out to a relative for emotional support as I battle major depressive disorder. That's a good way to channel my sadness. Bad would be if I actually acted on the suicidal thoughts.


P/S: Most importantly, remember there is always God for us to lean on. Even when you have been rejected by other humans, He will never reject you and He will always love you unconditionally.
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement! God bless you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For me it's easy. I belong where strong feelings reside. If I have someone like a star next to me, radiating kindness and feelings towards me, I belong there, in its orbit. Never tiring, never slowing down, never distancing, under the spell of the gravity and familiarity, made of the same material.

I'd probably put this more on my type 6 than on being INFJ, but hey, it works. Feed me genuine feelings, I will be stuck into a tidal lock, meaning I will always show you my face to you.

Does anybody else feel like they could belong to a place/person forever? I mean really really feel that? Or am I just a oddity?
You wrote this so beautifully. I think what hurts me the most is when I meet people who pretend like they care and then over and over and over again they prove to me they don't. Authenticity is a rare thing. I feel like I would want to hold onto it forever if I found people like that. My best friend is one of them and I hope we are still friends when we are old. Nothing odd about wanting to stay in their orbit forever.
 

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@ShyViolet ah the post I made to this forum can be read as cranky. I am sorry about that. I support your desire to find a sense of belonging. I believe it is a basic need, a human need.

Support groups focused on stress or anxiety or reduction of those things could help. Or CBT. Just throwing suggestions out there.Depending how you feel, volunteering can sometimes bring people a sense of belonging too.
 

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Hi @ShyViolet, thanks for sharing... I am having a very similar experience right now (depression, feeling isolated from my church community - this is for several reasons but lots of close friends moving in recent years/months has a lot to do with it, I think). I am primarily being supported by:
work (who have referred me for CBT and are allowing me work time to do this)
family (I am massively fortunate in having amazing parents, especially my mum)
other friends, one of whom has referred me to friends of hers who counsel people through life changes etc
my doctor, who has basically forced me to do something new! (so I have joined a conversation club for a foreign language I am trying to learn)

I don't know whether you have any of those alternative sources of support - I really hope you do. I know that when you are depressed actively seeking help is really really hard, too, and I know that no church is perfect. Do you have friends who go to another church which you could maybe visit some time with them? I keep meaning to do this but it is quite daunting!

I have one or two friends at my church who, though they are in very different life stages to me, are trying to help me although they have a lot else on. I managed to get to my church lately for the first time in a while and it was OK - like you, though, I am aware that often the things which upset me may be down to my own skewed mental processing!
 
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