We Choose to Belong

Jul 10, 2023 | All Blogs, Belonging, Belonging Series, Equity, Inclusion, Relationships

This is the second post in our blog series about belonging. In these articles, we’ll explore what it means to add “Belonging” to DEI work, how we define belonging, how we know when we belong, and what happens when belonging is absent.

The myth about belonging is that others make it happen for us–by being welcoming, inviting, safe, respectful, happy to see us. But in reality, belonging isn’t something we are offered. It’s not something we take from others. 

When people see you as a valued member of the community with rights, responsibilities, and stewardship, they are offering you inclusion. Belonging is when YOU see yourself as a valued member of the community, and exercise your rights, responsibilities, and stewardship.

Of course, a workplace that invites us to be ourselves, that values our humanity as much as our productivity, and that supports our creativity, is essential. But these are only the conditions of belonging and thriving. Given an environment of inclusion and equity, people have the opportunity to belong. 

We already know that other people can’t make you happy. They can do things that are pleasing, enjoyable, or funny. But happiness–the kind of real contentment and openness to joy, play, and delight–can only come from within. The same is true for belonging. We have to come into an inclusive environment with a strong sense of our own value, attuned to what we need to be successful, and ready to communicate.

In the end, we all create our own belonging. Rather than making belonging a prerequisite to our relationships, we must actively partner with ourselves and others to build belonging. 

We choose to belong by saying, I belong here, so…

I will invest my time, energy, and creativity.

I will take the risk to ask for what I need with the expectation that my needs will be met.

I will hold space for my colleagues’ vulnerability.

I will lead with curiosity.

I will collaborate with trust and clarity.

I will ask questions and strive to understand.

I will take risks.

I will set and honor healthy boundaries.

I will hold myself and others accountable to high standards.


All of our daily actions come with a choice to invite belonging and to belong. The agency and autonomy are always ours.

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